The temporary suspension of hundreds of cruise, river and expedition ships was a seismic shock to the industry.  Shock has given way to acceptance, and now that all eyes are on the next steps to getting ships back out on the high seas the question everyone is asking is, what will that look like?

Genting Hong Kong, a subsidiary of Malaysia based Genting Group, might have a plan that could be a blueprint for the industry.  Genting Cruise Lines owns Crystal Cruises, Dream Cruises and Star Cruises, and in early April they published a comprehensive overview of their new sanitation protocols.  Kent Zhu, President of Genting Cruise Lines stated “We have taken the positive opportunity during this hiatus period to also implement comprehensive crew training to reinforce effective cleaning procedures, health and hygiene protocols and efficient guest interaction, which we will adopt as the new safety norm for our fleet and we hope for the industry too. The public will be pleased to know for instance, that all of Genting Cruise Lines’ ships allow for 100 percent external fresh air to be filtered and supplied to each passenger cabin as well as on board public areas ensuring a constant and healthy flow of fresh air throughout the vessels. Besides that, isolated wards are available in the Medical Center and cabins can be converted into quarantine rooms if required.”

The plan includes stringent health screening protocols prior to embarkation and disembarkation, thorough sanitization, disinfection and enhanced hygiene practices for guest cabins, public areas and recreational activities, food and beverage safety, and crew health. Infrared fever screening, a doctor’s certificate of fitness for guests over 70, greatly enhanced cabin and public room sanitizing, and twice-daily temperature checks for crew are among the measures Genting Cruise Lines plans to implement before beginning service in the ‘near future.’ It’s intended to become the norm for all ships in the Dream Cruises and Star Cruises fleets.  Ships operating in U.S. territorial waters will have additional requirements as outlined in the “No Sail” order issued in mid-April by the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services and the Centers for Disease Control (CDC).  Those additional requirements may impact some of the Crystal Cruises ships.

In addition to twice daily temperature checks all front of the house crew will be required to wear face masks. Housekeeping and food and beverage crew will be required to wear disposable gloves, and designated crew may also wear protective garments and eye protection if required.  All crew will be required to regularly sanitize hands using anti-bacterial hand soap and washing for at least 20 seconds. Workshops and crew training on appropriate health and safety measures will be provided, and crew movements will be reduced.

Genting Cruise Lines, in collaboration with the China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association (CCYIA), will contribute to a white paper for the cruise industry’s prevention and response plan against COVID-19, providing a comprehensive and unified standard for the industry to ensure the safety and well-being of all cruising guests and crew.

The Asia Cruise Terminal Association (ACTA) offered its vote of confidence. In endorsing the measures, Chairman of the ACTA, Singapore Cruise Centre said: “ACTA and all its members endorses Genting Cruise Lines’ initiative and pledge to support these procedures throughout its member ports located across the region, including in China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.”

“The secret of getting ahead is getting started.” – Mark Twain

Let’s get started.

This post was written by cruise industry expert, Shannon Mckee, founder of Access Cruise Inc. Access Cruise Inc is a Miami based cruise marketing and sales consulting group, specializing in product and business development within the cruise industry.

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