Health measures for a stress-free sailing experience
The purpose of a vacation is to decompress and relax. As you step foot on a cruise ship, a sense of calm and rejuvenation should take hold. At this moment in time, we all need this more than ever. That’s why cruise companies have put in the time, effort and resources to ensure that ALL safety concerns around COVID-19 have been addressed. Here are some ways your favorite cruise lines are putting safety first.
Following a Phased Approach
Cruise lines are working closely with the CDC on a phased approach to returning to travel. As a result of these measures, a cruise vacation will be safer than ever before. The first step involves implementing testing and additional safeguards for crew members. Other phases include mock voyages with volunteers playing the role of passengers, certification of ships that meet certain safety requirements and a return to passenger voyages in a careful manner that mitigates the risk of COVID-19 among guests, crew and communities. As an extra safety step, many cruise lines are requiring that all adult guests and crew members receive the COVID-19 vaccine before boarding. Each line has developed or is developing its own policy for vaccination and testing requirements.
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Face masks are required for everyone on board ships over two years of age. Exceptions would be dining areas where people are eating or drinking, when taking medication, when proving identity or when communicating with someone who is visually impaired. Even on cruises with vaccine requirements, mask wearing will be enforced. Prior to the CDC announcement, cruise lines were outlining similar measures to ensure a safe return to cruising. Passengers who fail to comply with mask-wearing protocols may be disembarked.
When cruising resumes, ships will be pristine. More oversight will be enforced regarding cleanliness — for example, each ship has its own Public Health Officer overseeing all aspects of health and sanitation for guests and crew. Cruise lines as a whole have expanded their onboard medical teams and designated each ship with isolation accommodations. You may notice crews cleaning public spaces with more regularity — they’ll use hospital-grade disinfectant to do so, and ships will be deep cleaned between sailings. Luggage handles are sanitized before delivery to staterooms and cruise lines have added hand washing and hand sanitizer stations throughout the ships for guests’ convenience.
Upgraded Ventilation Systems
This improvement will continue to be a perk even after pandemic concerns have passed. Responding to worries about the airborne spread of the virus, cruise companies made a commitment to having 100% fresh air throughout their vessels. They announced the installment of medical-grade H13 HEPA (High Efficiency Particulate Air) filters across their fleets. Beyond HEPA filters, some cruise lines are taking air purity a step further by introducing germicidal irradiation (UV-C) that’s designed to kill bacteria and viruses before they can enter the air mix.
Flexible Booking Policies
In these pandemic times, it is hard to predict what will happen from one month to the next. Cruise lines realize this and have been understanding to guests who may need to cancel or change their reservations due to health concerns. A widely implemented “Cruise With Confidence” policy allows guests to cancel up to 48 hours before departure and receive a full credit for their fare to use on a future cruise. Some cruise lines require a little more notice but overall, booking policies have become extremely generous across the board.