Another company to announce health and safety measures is Windstar Cruises, which is committed to a what it calls a holistic Beyond Ordinary Care programme.
The cruise company announced that it will retrofit its six ship fleet with hospital-grade HEPA filters, ultra-violet germicidal irradiation and will employ a safe sanitisation formula used in health care settings.
A new partnership with the epidemiology department at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Centre will provide ongoing guidance, the company said.
“We are taking extensive measures and making multi-million dollar investments to operate our yachts more safely in this new environment,” said Windstar Cruises CEO, Andrew Todd (pictured). “Building upon Windstar’s 180 deg from ordinary service, the Beyond Ordinary Care programme implements a layered system of science-led best practices aimed at keeping everyone on board healthy.”
“Windstar’s holistic approach has multiple layers of safety at hospital grade standards and when combined with responsible hygiene practices from guests, it’s the safest environment achievable with tech and science as we know it today,” claimed Dr Michelle Barron, Medical Director of Infection Prevention at University of Colorado Hospital and Professor of Medicine, Division of Infectious Diseases, at University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Centre. “When you’re sailing on a Windstar yacht, your biggest worry should be how to avoid a sunburn, not getting COVID-19.”
Enhanced cleaning protocols on board include crew dedicated to frequent cleaning with special attention to high touch points and public areas.
This programme includes:
- Installing high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to filter the air on board. These filters are being installed in the HVAC systems on all Windstar yachts.
- Adding another layer to sanitise/disinfect the HEPA-filtered air with UV-C light for germicidal irradiation. Once air has moved through the HEPA filtration system, there is an opportunity to ‘zap’ the air with UV-C light (also called germicidal irradiation) before the air recirculates on the ship. When air passes the UV-C light, microbes, such as bacteria and viruses not trapped in the HEPA filter, will be destroyed.
- Using EvaClean with PurTab for disinfecting surfaces via sprayers. In addition to an elevated frequency of cleaning, sanitising provides another layer of safety. This EPA-approved powerful sanitiser uses a safe and effective formula for disinfecting all types of hard and soft surfaces throughout the ship including guest rooms, crew spaces and all public spaces.
Todd claimed that Windstar, working with health experts and following CDC guidelines, had chosen cleaning and sanitation methods that were shown to be effective against coronaviruses, as well as many other illness-causing micro-organisms.
“Windstar operates small yachts that visit ports and waterways that large cruise ships simply can’t access,” Todd explained. “There are major advantages to smaller ships besides less tonnage and passengers. Let’s face it, cleaning and purifying a 342-pax ship is logistically easier than a 5,000 pax ‘city at sea.’”
New pre-trip protocols for guests include a pre-departure questionnaire, and a request to wear masks when travelling to and from the ships.
Each guest will receive health screening prior to embarkation.
Staggered arrival and departure times at check-in and disembarkation in ports will reinforce proper social distancing between guests.
Once on board, guests will find personalised service by dining staff in all venues, expanded dining times and seating arranged to provide more space between diners.
Additional al fresco restaurants and complimentary room service will increase the dining options. The main dining venues will operate at 65% capacity, while speciality venues will operate at 60%.
Crew, who will also be COVID-19 (PCR) tested, will wear masks. In addition, the crew will have to take temperature measurements twice daily.
Tenders, motor coaches and smaller boats will operate at 50% capacity and will be cleaned between use.
Windstar will also expand the medical staff on board, as well as increase crew training in cleaning practices, social distancing, and emergency response protocols.