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Cruises Eye Smoother Waters With Vaccines, ‘Health Bubbles’

Cruise ship companies are equipped with testing, vaccination and quarantine areas and want a smoother voyage for this travel season after concerns about ships struck by Covid last year rocked the industry.

Cruise companies lost tens of billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands were unemployed as the country banned ships from ports.

The industry’s predicament began in February last year, when Diamond Princess and its 4,000 passengers spent several weeks quarantining at a Japanese port after reaching 700 coronavirus infections on board.

Cruises may have to wait until July to take advantage of Florida’s harbor, but with strict health protocols to avoid repeating the misfortunes of last year, the ship has returned to the sea in other markets. ..

Costa Cruises, the Italian cruise line, departed on Saturday for the first time in more than four months, with its flagship ship departing from Savona. The Italian government banned cruises in December.





The cruise ship has returned sassy to the sea with a strict health protocol to avoid repeating last year’s incident of coronavirus spreading rapidly on board.
AFP / Marco Beltrello

Costa Smeralda was only a quarter and had 1,500 passengers.

All passengers and crew were first tested for coronavirus and were required to wear masks on their trips. The 1,300 crew were quarantined for 14 days before reporting their work.

Other ships departed from Barcelona and the city of Marseille in southern France.

Costa’s rival MSC returned to the sea much earlier in August.

Since then, MSC France Director Patrick Pourbaix has stated that the company “carried more than 60,000 passengers with peace of mind on about 30 cruises.”



Cruise companies lost tens of billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands were unemployed as the country banned ships from ports.


Cruise companies lost tens of billions of dollars and hundreds of thousands were unemployed as the country banned ships from ports.
AFP / Marco Beltrello

According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the cruise industry was hit by Covid’s crisis, suffering a $ 77 billion shortage between mid-March and September last year, losing 518,000 jobs.

Prior to the pandemic, cruise companies had strong growth over a decade, peaking in 2019, with 29.7 million passengers, more than half of the passengers from North America, according to CLIA.

“It’s a sector that won’t return to normal activity until 2025,” said Didier Arino, director of the French consultancy Protourisme.

For now, the new standards are vaccines, tests and masks.

Norwegian Cruise Line, a US operator, will operate three of its 17 vessels from Greece and the Caribbean this summer, with passengers “fully vaccinated” at least two weeks before departure.



The new common sense of cruises is vaccines, tests and masks


The new common sense of cruises is vaccines, tests and masks
AFP / Marco Beltrello

“It’s not one or the other. It’s a vaccine and a safety protocol,” said CEO Harry Somer.

Guests are tested before boarding and disembarking, and the onboard hygiene protocol includes “medical grade air filtration and enhanced medical resources,” Sommer said.

In the UK, the Ministry of Transport has issued a green light for cruises, albeit confined to domestic waters, to resume on May 17.

However, the capacity is limited to 50%, or up to 1,000 passengers, all of which must be based in the United Kingdom.

Meetings on board are also limited to groups of up to six people.

In a statement, P & O Cruises President Paul Radlow said, “While the uncertainties about traveling abroad this summer remain uncertain, we are confident that we will take care of everything and give guests the ultimate vacation in the UK. We are pleased to be able to provide it to you. ” ..

P & O only accepts fully vaccinated passengers.

In the United States, cruise ships may be able to resume voyages from Florida ports in mid-July after a year of shutdown, according to new guidelines from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

At least 98% of the crew and 95% of the passengers must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 for the ship to depart.

Costa and MSC do not require passengers to be vaccinated, but they must take a Covid test before boarding and require a strict social distance on board.

The two companies also offer only excursions within the “health bubble” while minimizing contact with the locals.

In the event of a suspicious case, the MSC has an isolated area and medical teams are on board, Pourbaix said, adding that sick passengers will be taken to the first port.

Until now, few ships and itineraries were available during the summer season in Europe, but there is no shortage of demand.

Sommer in particular shows that the 35 cruises first launched on the Norwegian Cruise Line are already full.

According to a CLIA survey, two out of three cruise passengers surveyed say they are ready to recover their feet this year.

“Cruise enjoys an unparalleled level of (customer) satisfaction at around 98%,” Arino said. “The loyalty of our clients is very strong.”



Cruises Eye Smoother Waters With Vaccines, ‘Health Bubbles’ Source link Cruises Eye Smoother Waters With Vaccines, ‘Health Bubbles’

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