So as we warned you this morning there has been a lot of misinformation and negativity around the release of the Council of the European Union ‘Interim Advice for restarting cruise ship operations’ document! Here are the facts and the reasons we should welcome it!!
🇪🇺 First of all this is an Interim document - it’s advice as to how cruise could restart! It DOES NOT detail your cruise experience in a years time!
🇪🇺 This is a discussion document - the document uses words like ‘could’ ‘should’ ‘recommend’ ‘advise’... this is not set in stone but provides a very real starting point for discussion to firm up the exact way Cruising will operate initially in Europe!!
🇪🇺 This document consistently refers to policies and procedures cruise lines were already operating. It’s not ripping up the rule book because cruise lines already had incredibly high standards of cleanliness, high standards in dealing with outbreaks and high levels of medical care onboard! That offers comfort!
🇪🇺 This document builds upon all the features that were already in place before lockdown - excluding passengers from #Covid19 hit areas, temperature screening, enhanced cleaning measures including cruise terminals, hand washing protocols etc. These were all already in place!!
🇪🇺 This document was written by medical experts including Finan O Gallchobhair from the Environmental Health Service in Ireland in conjunction with CLIA and the worlds leading cruise lines - Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Carnival Cruise Line and many more!
SUGGESTED CHANGES? 🤔
So what main changes have been ‘suggested’?
A lot is to do with documentation, training, increased T’s and C’s and making agreements with ports in advance of sailing so if something happens everyone knows what the process is! In terms of your experience this report recommends:
🔹 Masks - Only where 1.5 metres distance cannot be maintained (but this can be shorter if the country of origin / visiting country is shorter) and specifically during embarkation, on buses, elevators, on lifeboats and if corridors are narrow!! If you think about the last element that’s impractical... on... off... on ... off... it will just lead to masks being contaminated and it’s not practical.
🔹 Reduced capacity - to ensure social distancing can be maintained
🔹 Contactless Temperature testing may be daily
🔹 Staggered Muster drills and more events outdoors where possible
🔹 Buffets remain about issue but when you read through it the document doesn’t rule out a waiter served buffet and Royal Caribbean for example this week confirmed The Windjammer will remain in place!
🔹 Slight tweaks to cabins - if it cannot be disinfected it should not be in the cabin which may mean elements like kettles, minibars, coffee machines and in room documentation may be looked at! 🤔
🔹 Mention of it being desirable to have Cohorts or controlled groups that do things together ... this is completely impractical and we expect this to be dismissed.
🔹 Passengers over 65 or with certain medical conditions to seek doctors advice before travel - however no mention of any certs with several cruise lines already stating these won’t be necessary!
🔹 Social distancing in place so expect less machines in the casino, less people into the theatre but more performances, less people in and around pools, loungers and chairs to be separated
🔹 Recommendation to avoid use of elevators but can use with a mask.... again, this is going to be difficult realistically to operate and manage
🔹 Expect Cruise lines to market ‘Covid Friendly excursions’ as all excursions and excursions providers to meet same standards as onboard!
CRUISE IS NOW A STEP NEARER!
This document should be welcomed! Facilities across the world are opening up... hotels, resorts, theme parks, airlines are all opening again yet cruise seems to be being singled out and being made to jump through more hoops than any other industry when it’s already a controlled environment that was leading the way in terms of standards! Sadly no standard anywhere in the world in any setting was enough to prevent Covid19!
With the CDC in America still not being clear about what’s needed in order for them to lift their own ban this is now a set of parameters that cruise lines and European countries can now thrash out, refine, discuss and tweak to find an interim solution to get ships back out on the ocean..
This document brings us a step closer - don’t panic about all the content, nothing is confirmed and a wonderful cruise experience is not far away!! 💚
Cruise Lines International Association - CLIA ITTN, Ireland’s Travel Trade Network