Cruising returns with ramped-up passenger care


Crystal Symphony at sea.


Cruising is back with cruise companies lining up to announce new hygiene protocols. In some cases, ships have already set sail.


Crystal Cruises today unveiled Crystal Clean+, a set of safety and health protocols for its ocean-going vessels, Crystal Serenity and Crystal Symphony.


The company says the protocols have been developed with the latest health data “to meet the unique challenges posed by COVID-19”.


In practice, the new code of operation means reduced capacity on board, new embarkation procedures, enhanced cleaning practices, social distancing, face covering guidelines, health monitoring of guests and crew, PCR testing equipment, isolation staterooms and shoreside partner collaborations.


“When travellers choose to sail with us, they are entrusting Crystal to keep their well-being as our top priority and we take this trust and responsibility very seriously,” said Crystal’s president and chief executive officer, Tom Wolber.


At embarkation, guests will now be expected to arrive at an assigned time, fill-in two health questionnaires and undergo two separate temperature checks. All baggage will be disinfected before boarding.


On board, there will be reduced capacity in restaurants, fitness centres, casinos, retail spaces, bars and lounges and on the pool deck.


Masks will be provided to all guests and crew and will be required in restaurants prior to seating, in show lounges, casinos, fitness centres, elevators, ship tenders, shoreside terminals and tour dispatch areas.


Crystal is also working with shoreside partners to ensure tour coaches are properly disinfected, excursion group sizes are reduced and the ships will only visit safe, open ports of call, which may lead to last-minute itinerary changes.


On board medical centres will be available 24/7, with a doctor and three nurses on board each ship. Centres will be equipped with ventilators, PCR testing equipment, isolation wards and common prescription and over-the-counter medications.


Crystal Clean+ protocols are currently being developed for Crystal’s River, Yacht and Expedition vessels.


The cruising industry has been one of the hardest hit sectors of the tourism industry after a raft of cruise ships were stricken with coronavirus infections at the beginning of the year.


The most recent COVID-19 outbreak occurred earlier this month on board Hurtigruten’s MS Roald Amundsen, with more than 30 crew members testing positive as it lay in dock in Troms, Norway. The cruise line has contacted all disembarked passengers who were on board for the ship’s July 17 and July 24 sailings.


Hong Kong-based Genting Cruise Lines said it plans to sail in Hong Kong as early as this month. Company president Kent Zhu told Hong Kong’s South China Morning Post at the beginning of July that the cruise line had done “a lot of work” to provide assurances to passengers in terms of safety. The company’s Explorer Dream was the first ship in the industry to receive Certification in Infection Prevention for the Maritime Industry. It recommenced sailings in Taiwan at the end of July with a ‘Taiwan Island-Hopping’ itinerary.


Crystal Cruises has now introduced 'Crystal Confidence 2.0', a limited time, no money down, 90-day deposit window for all new 2020-2023 reservations with Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Yacht Cruises and Crystal Expedition Cruises. Final payment rules have also been relaxed. All 2021-23 bookings will additionally receive a deposit discount of 15% and waived administration fees.


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