Genting Cruise Lines claimed to be the first international cruise company to restart operations with the deployment of Dream Cruises’ ‘Explorer Dream’ in Taiwan.
She was due to begin Taiwan Island-Hopping itineraries on 26th July, 2020.
Upon the ship’s arrival in Keelung on 30th June, ‘Explorer Dream’ underwent a thorough deep cleaning in accordance with EU standard, in addition to her crew immediately beginning their mandatory 14-day quarantine on land, the company explained.
The ship’s crew then tested negative for COVID-19 based on nucleic acid tests that are used by the cruise company. They have now returned on board where they underwent an additional seven day self-health monitoring period to complete their comprehensive preventive period of 21 days of isolation, prior to the inaugural sailing.
Kent Zhu, Genting Cruise Lines’ President, said, “The health and safety of our guests and crew are our top priority and we appreciate the support and guidance of the many Taiwan authorities on the smooth completion of quarantine procedures and testing for our crew including the Central Epidemic Command Centre, Taiwan Centres for Disease Control, Immigration Department/National Police Agency of Ministry of Interior, Maritime Port Bureau, MOTC; Taiwan International Port Company, Keelung City Government, Taipei City Government, Taipei Veterans General Hospital, Far Eastern Memorial Hospital, Wanfang Hospital and Epidemic Prevention Hotel.
“We have been working tirelessly to prepare for the resumption of our cruise operations, and we have been exploring with local authorities the feasibility of hosting a medical professional on board the ship to work as a consultant in collaboration with our two in-house professional doctors. We have implemented the newly-added role of Infection Control Officer on board to ensure our extensive preventive measures are functioning smoothly in case of emergencies,” Zhu continued.
Prior to her inaugural sailing, ‘Explorer Dream’ participated in an outbreak simulation drill under the guidance of the Taiwan Centres for Disease Control. Medical experts from the Taiwan Public Health Association also consulted on the drill with professional advice on the ship’s prevention and response plans to ensure the seamless execution of preventive measures both on board and onshore.
In response to the outbreak of COVID-19, Genting Cruise Lines had reviewed its existing prevention and response plans and devised a new set of enhanced and comprehensive measures across the fleet covering key areas, including stringent health screening procedures and guidelines during embarkation and disembarkation, social distancing measures on board, enhanced sanitisation, disinfection and hygiene practices for guest cabins and crew member quarters, public areas and recreational facilities, and safe food and beverage handling procedures.
Genting Cruise Lines has also worked with DNV GL to adapt its health care ‘Certification in Infection Prevention (CIP) for the Marine industry (CIP-M)’. ’Explorer Dream’ was the first cruise ship in the world to receive the CIP-M certification (see ICSI Innovations report).
In addition, her design allows for 100% external fresh air to be filtered and supplied to each passenger cabin, as well as on board public areas ensuring a constant and healthy flow of fresh air throughout the vessels.
Two professional doctors, of which one will also serve as the new on board Infection Control Officer, will be available in the 24-hr medical centre, where real time RT-PCR diagnostic rapid tests and nasal swab tests will be available. Isolation wards with negative room pressure are also available in the Medical Centre and cabins can be converted into quarantine rooms if required.
“We appreciate the support and trust from our guests and industry partners in Taiwan, where our island-hopping itineraries have been met with an overwhelming market response, with sold out sailings in July and August. We look forward to welcoming our guests on board our inaugural sailing on 26th July, where they will be able to enjoy a safe and inspirational journey at sea with total peace of mind,” Zhu added.