Asian cruise group to ‘set new safety standards’ for sector

Asian cruise group Genting Cruise Lines plans to heighten safety levels for passengers and crew when sailings resume following the coronavirus crisis.

The measures include stringent health screening and protocols prior to embarkation and disembarkation for the Hong Kong-based group’s Dream Cruises and Star Cruises brands.

The rules are set to become the “new norm” for preventive standards for the fleet.

Isolation wards will be made available in medical centres while passengers aged 70 and older will have to provide a doctor’s certificate of fitness for travel.

Self-service buffets will be suspended and “ample spacing” between passenger seating will be introduced.

Capacity in entertainment venues will be limited to half capacity to provide “ample space” between passengers.

Excursion coaches will be limited to half capacity and sanitised frequently.

Ships will have 100% external fresh air filtered and supplied to passenger cabins and on board public areas.

Online check-in will mean passengers receive designated arrival times at cruise terminals to minimise crowd congestion.

Mandatory temperature screening and pre-boarding health declarations for all passengers will be introduced with infrared fever screening system at the ship’s gangway.

Thorough sanitisation and disinfection, enhanced hygiene practices for cabins, on board public areas and recreational areas will be enforced.

The company said: “With these new standards and practices in place, Genting Cruise Lines is optimistic that the cruise industry will rebound from this temporary setback and regain the confidence of all cruise passengers when operations resume.”

The business also runs global luxury line Crystal Cruises, although it was unclear if it would be included in the new measures.

Genting Cruise Lines president Kent Zhu said: “The safety and health of our guests and crew are of paramount importance to us.

“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.

“As a responsible cruise company, it is our duty to adopt a pro-active 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.

“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.”

Zhu added: “The public will be pleased to know for instance, that all of Genting Cruise Lines’ ships allow for 100% external fresh air to be filtered and supplied to each passenger cabin as well as on board public areas ensuring a constant and healthy flow of fresh air throughout the vessels.

“Besides that, isolated wards are available in the medical centre and cabins can be converted into quarantine rooms if required.”

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