Norwegian Cruise Line became the first major cruise
line to offer specific details about health and safety protocols that will be
implemented once service resumes.
Among them are reduced passenger capacity, onboard social
distancing, health monitoring throughout each cruise and full-service buffets.
The cruise line said it has been working with the Centers
for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on measures it is implementing now and
says more are in development. The company also has created a new onboard
position, public health officer, who is responsible for the oversight of all
sanitation and outbreak-prevention initiatives and for monitoring the
day-to-day cleanliness of all public areas and accommodations.
Prior to boarding, all passengers and crew will undergo
enhanced health screenings, Norwegian said, and those considered at risk will
undergo additional screening. Staggered embarkation and online check-in will be
implemented to allow for physical distancing.
To allow for adequate onboard social distancing, Norwegian
will reduce passenger capacity and limit guest counts in public areas. The
cruise line said that all onboard activities would still be available but
operated at a reduced capacity and in some cases “slightly modified in order to
ensure safe social distancing.”
Norwegian said it would implement touchless temperature
checks throughout each cruise to identify potential health issues. The checks
will occur upon returning to the ship from a port of call, prior to all meals
in dining venues and all activities in public venues, and before
Norwegian said its ships will be thoroughly cleaned and
disinfected prior to every cruise with standards developed in partnership with
the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program. Embarkation terminals will be sanitized
continuously and, where possible, fogged before and after each embarkation and
debarkation. The cruise lines said that all cabins, suites and public areas
will be cleaned, sanitized and disinfected at an increased frequency. It will
use electrostatic sprayers.
A “24/7 prevention schedule” will feature continuous
disinfection of public areas and high-traffic touch points such as elevators.
Buffets and beverage stations will be full-service with staff available to
serve guests, Norwegian said.
The cruise line will expect passengers to employ enhanced
“All guests will be strongly encouraged to engage in
frequent handwashing, including when entering food-and-beverage venues, and
hand sanitizer will be prominently placed and easily accessible throughout the
ship,” Norwegian said.
Norwegian said it has partnered with destinations and tour
operators to have its health and sanitation protocols “extend to the shoreside
“We will only visit safe, open ports of call which may cause
changes to your itinerary,” the company said.
New ship features include medical-grade air filters that
remove 99.95% of airborne pathogens and enhanced sanitation measures, increased
medical teams and onboard medical centers equipped with testing kits. Each ship
also will have isolation accommodations should the need arise.
The cruise line said that the new protocols are “just the
start of a wave of new technologies and enhancements we are rolling out, so
that you can explore the world with the ultimate peace of mind.”
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio told Travel
Weekly in May that no effort would be spared to ensure that vessels are safe.
NCLH has been working with Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former Food and Drug
Administration commissioner, to establish best practices and protocols and
assess the viability and practicality of implementing new technologies.