Holidays on cruise ships will never look the same again.
The COVID-19 pandemic has highlighted a number of health and hygiene issues, and cruise ships have been linked to thousands of coronavirus cases around the world.
Cruise operators are desperately working on new health protocols in a bid to get the industry moving as soon as possible. These include temperature testing and a reduction in the number of passengers allowed on board.
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) managing director Joel Katz told the ABC recently that the industry was figuring out how to operate in a world with no COVID-19 vaccine.
“This virus really thrives in social situations – there is nothing more social than a cruise,” he said.
Mr Katz conceded there was no quick fix and all options were on the table.
“[That includes] the health questionnaires that [passengers] will be required to fill in, the screening, testing, every aspect of the onboard operation including the onboard medical capabilities all the way through to when the guest gets home,” he said.
Other changes being considered include reducing the number of passengers allowed in theatres and offering more meal times, so that tables and chairs can be more spaced out throughout the dining areas.
Some of the other options being considered by cruise lines around the world include a ban on self-service buffets and restrictions on who’s allowed to travel, with a ban on those most at risk (aged over 70 or suffering from a serious chronic illness).
As with all travel industry sectors, there will also be enhanced cleaning protocols on ships once they return to the waters.
While it is common for crew to regularly wash and disinfect high-touch surfaces, this will go into overdrive when cruising returns. Passengers will also have to be more responsible for hygiene, with strict rules about using hand sanitiser before entering common and dining areas.
What changes do you expect to see when cruising eventually resumes? Will you feel safe enough to go cruising again after this crisis?
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