“We have taken extraordinary measures in preparation for this relaunch and are faced with a new travel reality with significantly stricter prevention and hygiene standards. We have taken our time because the safety of our guests and crew and the trust of those in charge of the German ports is very important to us,” says Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
“Our relaunch is carried out in a controlled fashion, and we are going above and beyond the requirements set forth by the authorities. Between each cruise, we purposely have a reset day without guests on board. Our reset day is for general cleaning and disinfection of the entire ship, and will help to establish the new procedure. Our aim is to make our guest’s time on board safe, carefree and enjoyable, by observing the necessary rules in regards to maintaining distance and providing personal and individual service. Our small ships offer ideal conditions for this,” says Pojer.
The Hapag-Lloyd Cruises 10-point plan
Before the cruises even begin, the mandatory disclosure of health information is provided to guests and needs to be signed. Also, the use of thermal imaging cameras is used upon embarkation, and a staggered and controlled boarding process ensures that comprehensive prevention measures are taken, and distance is maintained from the start.
The crew also undergo a thorough health check. They complete a period of quarantine before they start their duties and are given a PCR test. Crew members have their temperatures checked each day before they start their shift. There is supervised medical team on board, emergency and contingency plans in place, as well as a comprehensive training and safety programme for the crew as part of the new health and safety concept. The medical team has been expanded and there is a Public Health Manager, responsible for the implementation of preventive and hygiene measures.
The small luxury and expedition ships from the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet offer plenty of space, and therefore satisfy the rules regarding social distancing, with a minimum distance of 1.5 metres (5 feet) in public areas. For areas where this is not possible – such as during embarkation and disembarkation or in the elevators, guests on board are given a care set which includes face masks. All cabins are spacious outside cabins, mainly with balconies, providing private places to retreat to on board.
All ships are equipped with thermal imaging cameras and a mobile laboratory to provide rapid detection of viral diseases, such as COVID-19. Cold fogging devices are used for area-wide deep cleaning of suites, cabins and public areas. In addition, the number of disinfectant dispensers on board has been significantly increased.
The new standards are integrated into life on board, so that the enjoyment of guests is as unimpaired as possible: the crew–to-passenger ratio of 1:1 means individual and personal service. The number of seats available in the restaurants are reduced, and the opening times are extended. There is no self-service in the restaurants, the buffets, or in the bars. All meals are also be served in cabins, with 24-hour room service available. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises also guarantees a 100% fresh air supply in the cabins and all public areas.
Source/photos: Hapag-Lloyd Cruises