As the world’s coronavirus lockdowns begin to lift and the travel industry slowly starts back up again, organisation EU Healthy Gateways has published a report laying out health and safety procedures for cruise ships.
The report, published today, will allow for public health authorities across Europe to support the resumption of cruise activity in a coordinated way – allowing more cruise lines to return to operation.
Measures include 1.5-metre social distancing, the use of face masks, and plastic or glass screens in communal dining areas.
Social and physical distancing is at the heart of the report, and a distance of at least 1.5 metres should be maintained on the ship. This applies to waiting areas and during boarding and disembarking, and cruise lines are being advised to use special markings and adopt controlled entry methods. The use of face masks is also required.
Special floor markings should also be put in place in all passengers connection points, such as ticket offices, bars, restaurants, shops, entertainment areas and shared toilets.
Where distancing cannot be guaranteed, such as busy bars and in dining venues, cruise lines are advised to use protective transparent panels to provide some sort of protection and separate guests.
Cruise ship crew are also required to process and oversee all the new physical distancing measures, controlling the flow of passengers, staggering muster drills and utilising outdoor spaces for group events.
The guidelines also apply to port terminals, in which each port should conduct an initial assessment and make sure physical distancing is adhered to. This could consist of floor markings, one-way routes and several gangways being used to board passengers.
Reacting to the latest guidelines, which are set to help the cruise industry get back on its feet, CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) shared a positive statement.
“The primary concern of CLIA and its members’ lines is the health and safety of its passengers and crew,” said Tom Boardley, secretary-general of CLIA.
“The guidance from the public health authorities in Europe provides a useful resource for cruise lines as they prepare to resume operations.”
CLIA envisages a “gradual, phased-in approach” for the resumption of cruise operations, with this resumption down to factors such as international and local arrangements, the current spread of the virus and possible advancements in detection, prevention and treatment, such as a vaccine.
Visit cruising.org for more information.