Here's what Post COVID-19 cruising will look like on
Steph - Cruise with Amber
If you want to know what cruising will look like in a post COVID-19 world, then Virgin Voyages have just released how it’s going to work on the world’s newest cruise line.
‘Voyage Well’ is Virgin Voyages plan to keep passengers (Sailors) and Crew safe in a post COVID-19 world and it certainly is extensive. The enhanced health measures in the plan have been developed in conjunction with leading experts including AtmosAir, EcoLab, Dr. Heymann at Vikand, Global Public Health Services, and in close collaboration with the CDC.
Before Boarding: Post COVID-19 Cruising on Virgin Voyages
There will now be temperature checking at the terminal for both crew and sailors. Thermal Camera technology will also be installed in terminals and on board to monitor our Crew and Sailors’ temperatures. Additional and frequent pre-boarding health checks and screenings for both Crew and Sailors will also be implemented. Arrival and disembarkation times at the cruise port terminals will be carefully managed to ensure that physical distancing is possible.
For sailings through to December 16th, 2020, where a sailor is unable to board, Virgin Voyages are also currently offering fair and flexible booking policies moving the final payment dates to 60 days before setting sail (this was previously 120 days)
Sailors are also allowed to cancel up to 48 hours before sailing and receive a 100% Future Voyage Credit
All luggage and every single delivery to the ship will now be sanitised using fogging and UV Technology – the same Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation methods which is used in hospitals and laboratories.
On Board: Post COVID-19 Cruising on Virgin Voyages
Virgin Voyages are reducing capacity of their ships so sailors can expect limited occupancy on Scarlet Lady’s start up sailing period.
They will also create spaces that allow for better social distancing. Tables will be left empty on all the eateries on board. Virtual ticketing will be utilized to limit large groups at events and to ensure empty seats between sailors.
Hand sanitisers will be provided across the ship and sanitizing dispensers will be available in every public space. This will also be supported by increased hygiene signage, touchless faucets and hospital grade disinfectants. High touch areas across the ship including cabins, public spaces, restaurants, and recreational areas will be disinfected on a frequent basis.
Gone are the buffets (Virgin Voyages never did them anyway!). Food will be freshly prepared to order and served by the Crew. ShipEats (Virgin Voyages onboard food delivery service) will offer contactless drop off an pick up.
In terms of the air-conditioning, no air on the ship will be recycled. Instead there will be a continuous stream of 100% fresh air in all our cabins, suites, and public spaces. In addition to this Virgin Voyages are installing the latest air purification systems (using bi-polar Ionization technology) on board.
Digital technology will be utilised to the fullest to provide contactless experiences using Virgin Voyages wearable tech – The Band and through the Virgin Voyages App. Sailors will be able to use the band for contactless payment, service chat and to line up in Virtual Queues for on-board experiences.
There will also be 24/7 access to the medical centre and consultations will be free. Basic COVID-19 testing will also be available free of charge on board. There are additional ventilators and increased inventories of oxygen capacity in the medical centre.
Sailors will only be required to wear masks on ship and at sea if the wearing of masks has also been recommended on land. Any sailors or crew who need to be isolated will receive care from third-party medical providers board until they are able to disembark.
Before during and after every sailing, the ship will undergo a process of deep cleaning and sanitisation. There will also be regular fogging and deep cleansing of every single cabin
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At port : Post COVID-19 Cruising on Virgin Voyages
When in port, onshore experiences (ShoreThings) will be vetted so that nothing will be on offer which does not meet Virgin Voyages stringent health, sanitation and social distancing requirements.
After Disembarking: Post COVID-19 Cruising on Virgin Voyages
Once they disembark, Sailors will also be part of a post sail notification process for any relevant health updates. If sailors become unwell within 14 days of leaving the ship, Virgin Voyages aim to set up a post voyage notification process to enable sailors to inform Virgin Voyages.
Through the use of ethical contact tracing and a health tracking app Virgin Voyages aim to notify Sailors and Crew 14 days after leaving the ship if they have come in contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus on land or at sea. Virgin Voyages also aim to work with medical testing developers to find a quick and simple yet reliable test to ensure only those who test negative for COVID-19 are allowed to board.
Voyage Well Health Measures
It’s a pretty extensive list of stringent screening, sanitisation and distancing measures. What is unknown at the moment is what this means for the pool and hot tub areas, but it does give us a very clear indication of what cruising will look like in a post COVID-19 world.
Granted it’s not what cruising used to be however it is encouraging to know that Virgin Voyages are leading the way in providing their current and future passengers with a clearer picture of how things will actually work. It’s also a positive sign that we are one step closer to stepping back on ship.