Most of the world’s cruise lines have still suspended operations due to coronavirus, but that hasn’t stopped one cruise line from returning to service this month.
Helping guide the cruise industry into the new normal, Dream Cruises will be the first cruise line in Asia to return to the seas, restarting its services again on 26 July.
Explorer Dream, the line’s 3,000-passenger vessel, will depart from Taiwan on two- and three-night domestic island-hopping cruises from this month, stopping off at Peng Hu, Matsu and Kinmen.
While the operator isn’t well known in the European market, predominantly sailing in the Asia-Pacific region, it will give an early glimpse into the post-coronavirus experience that will take place onboard larger cruise ships in the future.
According to Dream Cruises, all passengers will receive mandatory health checks before boarding the ship, such as temperature checks and pre-boarding health questionnaires.
There will be an infrared screening system to check for temperature and fever before boarding and embarkation will be staggered to avoid overcrowding.
On board the ship, cabins will be fogged when empty and both cabins and public areas will be sanitised regularly. Lifts will be disinfected every two hours.
Self-service buffets will also be a thing of the past, and food will now be served to passengers by staff wearing masks and plastic gloves. Dining spaces will also have restricted capacity.
Explorer Dream‘s medical centre also now has isolated wards and is the first ship to be awarded the “certification in infection prevention for the marine industry” by Norwegian DNV GL, a classification society based in Norway.
When she sets sail, Explorer Dream will be the largest cruise ship currently in operation, with all other large passenger ships currently moored or in dry docks.
“This is truly a remarkable achievement which was made possible by the Taiwan authorities’ swift and effective handling of the Covid-19 crisis and their foresight in resuming the tourism industry to benefit all the ports, the economy and the lifestyle of the people of Taiwan,” said Kent Zhu, president of Genting Cruise Line.
Dream Cruises joins just a small list of cruise lines that have restarted operation. Hurtigruten’s Finnmarken is currently sailing, carrying a maximum of 999 passengers, along with luxury small cruise ship line SeaDream and a handful of river cruise operators.
Taiwan has been relatively unscathed by the coronavirus pandemic, with only 447 cases and seven deaths.