EU issues guidance for cruising’s return

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EU issues guidance for cruising’s return
Photo Credit: Artem Pachkovskyi/Shutterstock.com

The European Union released guidelines for the resumption of cruising, which include onboard separation by age group, reduced capacity and Covid testing of all passengers. 

And, the EU says that cruise lines must have a written contingency plan for a Covid-19 outbreak and be able to arrange for necessary medical treatment, repatriation and shoreside quarantine of any passenger or crew member who comes into close contact with an infected person.

CLIA called the guidance “an important marker in the possible resumption of cruising in Europe.” CLIA said it has been actively engaged in the development of the guidelines, which will “provide another level of trust for our customers and crew.”

The document calls for passengers in high-risk groups (such as those 65 and older) to consult a doctor to assess their fitness to travel before cruising. Additionally, the guidance suggests that activities and services onboard cruise ships be “organized according to age group, so that older individuals are separated from other age groups.” This applies to crew members as well, with the suggestion that those in high-risk groups could work in positions where there is little or no interaction with others.

The guidelines say “cruise lines could consider” testing all incoming passengers for Covid-19 before boarding and routine health monitoring (including Covid tests) for all crew.

The EU recommends reduced onboard capacity to allow for physical distancing and the quarantining of passengers and crew in case there is a need. It also recommends that cruise lines start out with short voyages (three to seven days) when returning to service, perhaps limiting the number of port visits.

Hygiene measures should include the wearing of face masks by both passengers and crew, the elimination of handshaking and the presence of hand-sanitizer stations throughout the ship. The guidance also calls for ventilation to provide as much outside air as possible.

Cruise ships cabins should not have any item that cannot be cleaned and disinfected between cabin occupancies, such as menus, magazines, coffee or tea packaging and mini-bar products. The EU suggests that a disposable cover be placed on remote controls to facilitate proper disinfection unless they can be adequately cleaned.

The guidance extends to shore excursions, with the EU suggesting that tour operators implement physical distancing and follow cleaning and disinfection protocols.

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