Mask-wearing in certain areas; outdoor exercise encouraged; and passengers only dining within their travelling group are among new proposals to get Brits cruising again.
The framework, published by the UK Chamber of Shipping after consultation with Clia, outlines health and hygiene protocols for cruise lines to consider adopting and offers an insight into what the future ocean cruise holiday experience could be like for British guests.
The guidance isn’t mandatory for Clia members but provides suggestions on a number of service and operational issues in the Covid era. TTG takes a look at what your clients should be aware of...
Social distancing and face coverings
According to the guidance, cruise lines should "review and reduce as necessary" the number of passengers they carry to enable social distancing.
Lines should consider methods needed to maintain physical distance between individuals, including onboard signage, floor markings and protective screens, as well as encouraging time spent on deck and operating waiter-only seated service at restaurants and bars.
On face coverings, the guidance states coverings should be worn pre-sailing in the cruise terminal and onboard when it is not possible social distance. Information on the correct use of face coverings should be provided to passengers through announcements and information on posters and screens.
Despite the advice, it also stresses lines "will not discriminate against those who cannot wear a face covering" due to age, health, disability or are otherwise exempt based on UK policy.
Passengers will be health screened prior to embarking, with the guidance suggesting checks are carried out in two phases, primary screening and secondary screening.
Primary screening would include an initial assessment by non-medical cruise or port staff. This may feature a health declaration questionnaire, observing travellers for any signs of Covid and checking their body temperature. Passengers may be asked to fill in their health declaration questionnaire prior to arrival at port to help avoid queueing and delays.
Those who have suspected Covid symptoms, or may have been exposed to someone with Covid, should be referred to secondary screening during which their health check will be conducted by personnel with medical training. This phase may include an in-depth interview, a focused medical examination, a second temperature check and potentially a Covid test.
If secondary screening concludes the passenger may have Covid or has been exposed to the virus, they will be denied boarding. The framework states that each line should use a standard policy for denial of boarding, which would include health support and advice, a safe exit route from the terminal, safe handling of luggage and transportation home to minimise the risk of contact with others and notification of appropriate public health authorities.
Between check-out and check-in, all cabins "should be thoroughly cleaned, disinfected and adequately ventilated". The guidance recommends alcohol-based hand sanitisers are placed in each cabin and for cabins to only be used by the occupants themselves, the group they travelled with and designated crew.