What will cruising look like in the future?

What will cruising look like when we can finally return? This is the question everyone is asking. The most honest answer? Who really knows?

All cruise lines are developing new safety and health protocols to be implemented once they return to sailing.  Each line has a different name for these new protocols but they are all basically the same. Some of the new features may include the following:

Pre-Boarding & Embarkation

  • Guests will check in online and complete a health questionnaire
  • Guests will receive an assigned arrival time to minimize congestion
  • Guests will undergo temperature checks before entering the terminal
  • Guests will complete a second health questionnaire at the terminal
  • A second temperature check will be done at the ship gangway via contact-free fever screening systems
  • Guests who show signs of illness will be seen by the medical staff and may be denied boarding
  • Luggage will be disinfected before it is brought aboard
  • Additional measures and precautions may be required depending on ports of embarkation/disembarkation

Capacity Control & Social Distancing

  • Reduced capacity when ships resume service
  • Reduced capacity in restaurants, entertainment, fitness center, pool deck, casino, retail spaces, bars and lounges
  • Social distancing of at least six feet of those outside of one’s travel party will be required
  • Reduced capacity in elevators

Disinfection Protocols

  • Frequent disinfection with medical-grade products listed on the EPA List N, and approved for use against COVID-19, norovirus and other infectious diseases
  • Frequent disinfection of all guest accommodations utilizing medical-grade disinfectants
  • Onboard social spaces disinfected with increased frequency including all public bathrooms, corridors, stairwells and elevators, restaurants, bars, lounges, entertainment and enrichment venues, retail spaces, fitness center and spa
  • Touchpoints such as handrails, elevator buttons, table-tops, door handles, etc., disinfected with increased frequency during peak hours
  • All dedicated children’s and teens’ facilities disinfected frequently
  • All recreational equipment disinfected with increased frequency
  • Public areas will be deep cleaned and meticulously disinfected with medical-grade disinfectants during overnight hours
  • Electrostatic foggers will be used as an additional tool for disinfection
  • Additional hand sanitizing stations using alcohol-based sanitizer will be placed strategically throughout the ship

Responsive Mask Policy

Masks will be required in venues and instances where proper distancing is not possible, including restaurants before being seated, show lounges, casino, fitness center, elevators, ship tenders, shoreside terminals and tour dispatch areas

Cruise lines will comply with all destination health authorities, which may require masks ashore

Food & Beverage

  • Open Seating Dining will continue with social distancing considerations
  • Guest seating will ensure ample spacing
  • Disposable cutlery will be provided, upon request
  • In-room dining choices will be available 24/7
  • Contact-free dining service will be implemented in all onboard venues
  • Self-service options will be eliminated in the buffet areas
  • All restaurants, bars and galleys will be disinfected with increased frequency
  • Increased hand washing and use of hand sanitizing stations will be required
  • Stringent procurement guidelines will be enforced

Air Filtration & Ventilation

  • All air filters and cooling coils are frequently thoroughly checked and maintained to ensure the highest standard of air quality possible
  • Guest accommodations and corridors set aside for isolation in the event of illness feature ventilation systems with separate ducting and air supply

Shoreside Partners & Excursions

  • Tour coaches and tenders will be disinfected to meet each cruise lines standards
  • Excursion group sizes will be reduced to help allow for proper social distancing
  • Each line will monitor port regulations and adjust requirements and schedules as needed to maintain guests’ health and wellbeing
  • Cruise lines will strongly recommend that guests who choose to book tours independently consider that these operators may fall short of the disinfection standards that are required of their partners
  • Cruise lines will partner with local destinations and tour operators to ensure the industry-leading health and sanitation protocols extend to the shoreside experience
  • Cruise lines will only visit safe, open ports of call; this may cause changes to the itinerary
  • Guests will be kept up to date with the latest confirmed itinerary changes
  • Additional health screenings may be required by local health officials before disembarkation in certain ports

Crew member Standards & Practices

  • Crew to be tested for COVID-19 prior to boarding
  • Crew will undergo frequent temperature checks and regular health monitoring
  • Crew will wear face shields, masks and other necessary PPE when interacting with guests
  • Crew transfer between ships will be minimized
  • Crew are prohibited from personal contact with guests such as handshaking and hugging
  • Crew are trained on health and safety measures

Medical Center & Services

  • The medical team comprises a doctor and nurses aboard each ship, available around the clock

Public Health Officer

  • The Public Health Officer is trained in the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program
  • Oversees outbreak mitigation and cleaning protocols
  • Closely coordinates with medical teams
  • Ensures that daily cleaning protocols are in accordance with CDC guidelines

We are all anxious to return to cruising. Hopefully, this will occur sooner rather than later. Right now, sailing is paused until the end of September 2020 and Princess has just announced a further pause till December 15, 2020. It would not be surprising to see other lines follow this extended pause.

Until then….wash your hands, keep physical distance from others, stay home if you feel sick and wear a mask when you go out.

We wish you fair winds and following seas.

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