Majority back enhanced health and safety measures, says HAL chief

Holland America Line’s boss has revealed “some” passengers have cancelled bookings due to the increased number of Covid-19 protocols on board.

Outlining the new measures the line had announced during the pandemic, president Gus Antorcha said the “majority” of guests were thankful for the enhanced health and safety guidelines.

Passengers will be required to be vaccinated and tested regularly, plus asked to wear masks when moving around a Holland America Line vessel.

Two Holland America Line (HAL) vessels – Nieuw Amsterdam and Eurodam – are currently operating in Alaska and the Mediterranean respectively, with the enhanced protocols in place.

Antorcha said: “You have to be vaccinated, you have to test. When you go from lounges, food and beverage locations we ask that you wear a mask. When there’s not a food and beverage situation we ask that people wear a mask. It’s an inconvenience, certainly.

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“We’ve had some people cancel because of the increased protocols. The majority of guests are thankful that we’re going as far as we’re going to keep them safe. That is what this is about.

“It’s about creating a safe environment to ensure they’re safe on their vacation and all these protocols that really require the guests and the crew to do something are by and large welcomed.”

Medicals teams have been strengthened on board and HAL’s parent company, Carnival Corporation, has made additions to its health operations centre, based in Miami.

Antorcha added: “We’ve put in a whole infrastructure that operate behind the scenes. The health operations centre is supporting all the brands in North America.

“It’s mostly in Miami but there are some folks out on the west coast. It’s 24/7 operation. There are people round the clock to support the ship.”

HAL is involved in a “significant amount of dialogue” with the relevant health authorities around the world, Antorcha added.

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