Costa Crociere was recently awaiting the final permission from authorities to start operations with its new ‘Costa Safety Protocol’ system in place.
These protocols were supported by a panel of independent scientific experts in public health co-ordinated by VIHTALI (Value in Health Technology and Academy for Leadership and Innovation), part of Rome-based Università Cattolica.
Costa also said it has worked in line with several global and national health guidelines to develop the new guidance, which represent a comprehensive set of measures and procedures, including the safety of crew members as they return to work on board, the booking process, embarking and disembarking operations in port, life and medical care on board and shore excursions.
Crew will require two separate swab tests for evaluation of suspected COVID-19 cases prior to leaving their home countries.
Upon arrival in Italy they will be tested a third time; those confirmed negative are allowed on board while respecting a 14-day period of quarantine. Their health is monitored by temperature checks every day and swab tests each month.
Guests will make use of self check-in and an online health questionnaire to fill in before embarkation.
Health screenings with temperature checks will be carried out each time a guest embarks or disembarks the ship, and at all the ports of call included in the itinerary. Once on board, self-service kiosks will allow guests to check their temperatures.
“Physical distancing will be respected upon arrival in each cruise terminal, with similar measures for shore tours, which have been redesigned with small groups of people and staggered departures, with sanitisation of buses before and after each use,” Costa said, in a statement.
“Life on board will also be redesigned by the new procedures – first and foremost by a reduction in the number of guests, in order to guarantee appropriate distancing and avoid public gatherings. The use of masks will be mandatory when indoor, while outdoor it will be required in all situations where distancing is not possible, according to the regulations valid onshore,” the company said.
Each ship interiors and outside decks will be subject to more frequent cleaning and sanitisation using special products, as well as additional disinfection dispensers will be placed at check-in and on board. The on board ventilation systems have been fitted with new filters that ensure high filtering efficiency of fresh air from the outside, minimising the recirculation of the internal system.
The entertainment programme has been modified to allow more shows during the day for smaller groups of people. As for catering, self-service restaurants will not be in operation and all meals will be served by Costa staff.
On board medical care for all guests and crew will be available 24/7. Each ship will be equipped with PCR-test-kits and diagnostic devices authorised by the European Union for the immediate evaluation of suspected COVID-19 cases, and the medical team on board has been trained in the relevant test procedures and treatment methods.
Costa said that extensive processes were developed to facilitate medical care, safe disembarkation and a safe return home, as quickly as possible for patients diagnosed with a confirmed COVID-19 case. Medical services related to flu symptoms or related to breathing difficulties will be free for all guests and specific insurance coverage will also be provided.