The measures will be introduced on Dream Cruises ships (Image: Dream Cruises)
Asia-based operator Genting Cruise Lines is to introduce enhanced health screening, cleaning, sanitising and preventive measures onboard the ships in its Dream Cruises and Star Cruises fleets when they resume service later this year.
Like most operators, Genting Cruise Lines has voluntarily suspended cruise operations due to the global Covid-19 pandemic, despite having no reported cases of Covid-19 connected to any of Genting Cruise Lines’ ships. The new standards have been created in anticipation of cruises resuming in the “near future” are set to become the “new norm” across both brands’ fleets.
“With the impact of the Covid-19 outbreak regionally and globally, many guests as well as crew have developed higher awareness and expectations with regards to the safety and preventive measures of cruise ships,” said Kent Zhu, president of Genting Cruise Lines. “As a responsible cruise company, it is our duty to adopt a proactive approach to meet, and also strive to exceed, the growing expectations and concerns of the public. As such, we have carefully reviewed our prevention and response plan with the Covid-19 pandemic in mind to devise and provide enhanced and comprehensive measures across our fleet.”
Some examples of the new preventive measures include mandatory temperature screening and pre-boarding health declarations for all guests, infrared fever screening at ships’ gangways, staggered embarkation and disembarkation times, and guests aged over 70 years having to provide a doctor’s certificate of fitness for travel.
Meanwhile, all crew members will have twice-daily temperature checks, use antibacterial hand soap and attend training workshops to learn about health and safety preventive measures. Front-line crew will be required to wear face masks, housekeeping and food and beverage staff will wear disposable gloves, and designated crew will have access to additional protective garments if required.
Cleaning efforts will also be significantly increased, with crew using hospital-grade disinfectants and heavy-duty cleaning products to sanitise guest accommodation, corridors, food and beverage venues, entertainment venues, children’s facilities, shops, spas, gyms and other public spaces more frequently each day. Common touch points, such as elevator buttons, handrails and tables will be sterilised on an hourly basis during peak times. Additional hand sanitiser dispensers will be introduced across the ships in various public areas.
“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,” said Zhu.
Other measures will include disposable cutlery on request, a ban on self-service in dining venues, a prohibition on sourcing products from regions that are highly affected by Covid-19, and halving the number of guests on tour buses and in dining, entertainment and recreational facilities to provide guests with space to socially distance. Onboard ventilation systems will be cleaned regularly and will filter fresh air from outside the ships to the passenger cabins and public areas to ensure healthy air quality.
“The public will be pleased to know for instance, that all of Genting Cruise Lines’ ships allow for 100 per cent external fresh air to be filtered and supplied to each passenger cabin and onboard public areas, ensuring a constant and healthy flow of fresh air throughout the vessels,” said Zhu. “Besides that, isolated wards are available in the medical centre and cabins can be converted into quarantine rooms if required.”
Genting Cruise Lines is also collaborating with China Cruise & Yacht Industry Association to publish a white paper to guide the cruise industry’s prevention and response plan for Covid-19. It hopes that these new standards will help the industry to rebound and regain the confidence of passengers when operations resume.
The Asia Cruise Terminal Association (ACTA), which is chaired by Singapore Cruise Centre, has endorsed Genting Cruise Lines’ measures, saying: “ACTA and all its members…pledge to support these procedures throughout its member ports located across the region including in China, Japan, Korea, Malaysia, Singapore and Taiwan.”
Read the full list of Genting Cruise Lines’ new health screening and preventive measures.
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