Norwegian Cruise Line has become the first of the major cruise companies to provide details about the measures it will take to combat the spread of Coronavirus once cruising resumes.
Royal Caribbean has indicated that it is in the process of developing such protocols, while Carnival Corporation has said that it is studying all the science around the virus before making any announcements.
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The new measures to be put in place by Norwegian form part of its Peace of Mind policy, and will see a Public Health Officer added to the crew of each of its ships, as well as additional medical staff.
Medical-grade air-filtration systems called H13 HEPA will also be installed across the fleet. These filters are capable of removing 99.95% of airborne pathogens in enclosed environments like cruise ship cabins and public spaces.
“Our 24/7 prevention schedule will feature continuous disinfection of public areas and high-traffic touch points. We will ensure that cleaning occurs continuously for all elevators and all public areas during on and off-peak hours,” the company said.
Like Royal Caribbean and Carnival, Norwegian will keep the traditional cruise buffets, but all buffets and beverage stations will be full service with staff available to serve guests, so that passengers don’t handle the same utensils.
Through these measures, the cruise line believes it will be able to operate safely at reduced capacity to ensure social distancing on-board.
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Norwegian Cruise Line will also be deploying anti-Coronavirus measures shoreside and between voyages, with better vessel sanitation programs and enhanced pre-boarding screening of all guests.
Guests considered to be at risk of complications from the virus will undergo additional screening, although beyond temperate checks and contact tracing it isn’t clear what other measures the cruise line might take.
Norwegian’s enhanced anti-COVID-19 measures:
Full vessel sanitation on turnaround days and during cruises
Enhanced temperature monitoring and rapid testing
Pre-screening and all passengers and crew
No self-serve at buffets
More medical staff
Addition of Public Health Officer to each ship
New air filtration systems to eliminate pathogens
All crew will also be pre-screened and they, along with all passengers, will be subject to constant monitoring through the voyage, such as touchless temperate checks and possible rapid testing kits.
Between voyages, the entire ship will be disinfected in accordance with the CDC’s CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program, as will the cruise terminals, which will also be ‘fogged’ whenever possible between ship calls.
All staterooms and public areas will also be cleaned, sanitized and disinfected at an increased frequency, including the use of Electrostatic Spray Technology and fogging with the disinfectant hypochlorous acid (HOCI).
Hypochlorous acid is a non-toxic, powerful oxidant that effectively kills bacteria, spores, and viruses.
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