Hapag-Lloyd Cruises released their ten-point hygiene and preventative plan for a return to cruising at the end of July 2020. The plan is to restart cruises from Hamburg with their luxury ship, the EUROPA 2, and their expedition ship, the HANSEATIC inspiration, but only at 40% capacity. The plan was developed in coordination with relevant authorities such as CLIA Deutschland shipping companies and other health experts.
In addition to their new plan, the cruise line also unveiled eight new short cruises starting and finishing in Hamburg, but for residents of Germany, Austria and Switzerland only due to travel restrictions from the COVID-19 pandemic.
Cruises Limited by Country
To begin, the cruises will be limited to passengers from certain countries as global travel restrictions makes it difficult, if not impossible, to have passengers from further reach the ship’s embarkation point.
“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. “For the relaunch, in accordance with the German authorities, we have agreed to exclusively welcome guests who are resident in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on board at first. In the next phase, we will evaluate whether we are able to allow guests who are resident in other countries to travel with us, depending on the development of the infection rate in those countries.”
Reset Day for Cleaning
In between cruises, the cruise line will take a full day in port with no passengers to conduct an extensive cleaning of public areas and guest rooms.
“Our relaunch will be carried out in a controlled fashion, and we are going above and beyond the requirements set forth by the authorities. Between each cruise, we will 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, care-free 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.
Hapag-Lloyd’s Ten-Point Plan
Before embarkation, there is a mandatory disclosure of health information for guests. Also, the use of thermal imaging cameras will be used to check temperatures prior to boarding. A staggered and controlled boarding process will help maintain 1.5 meters (5ft) of social distancing. That distancing protocol remains in effect once on board the ship. Guests on board will be given a care set which include face masks for areas like elevators where distancing is not possible.
Crew will undergo the same health checks prior to embarkation. They will complete a period of quarantine before they start their duties and will be given a PCR test. Crew members will have their temperatures checked each day before they start their shift. They have undergone a comprehensive training and safety program as well as practiced new emergency and contingency plans. A supervised medical team along with a Public Health Manager will remain onboard throughout the cruise.
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 will be 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 number of seats available in the restaurants will be reduced, and the opening times will be extended. There will be no self-service in the restaurants, the buffets, or in the bars. All meals can also be served in cabins, with 24-hour room service available. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises also touts a 100% fresh air supply in the cabins and all public areas.
With all that in place, what are your thoughts on taking a Hapag-Llyod cruise? Let us know in the comments below!