Buffet To Stay, But Look Different

“We will continue to have a buffet at Royal Caribbean,” commented Linken D’Souza, vice president of food and beverage operations, on a recent webinar aimed at travel agents.

The company’s iconic Windjammer venue, however, could look a bit different across the 26-ship Royal Caribbean International fleet.

Scenarios, said D’Souza, range from employee service to individual portions to individual (i.e.disposable) tongs, among many options.

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Ponant to Resume Service

When Ponant resumes service, the company will be benefiting from Bureau Veritas’ (BV) ‘Restart your Business’ suite of solutions and the ‘Safeguard’ label developed for passenger ships.

BV said it has been working with Ponant and its fleet of 11 ships, combining state-of-the-art technology and respect for the environment, to implement effective infection prevention measures.

Restart your Business with BV for passenger ships meets the specific requirements of this market addressing biological risks, as posed by COVID-19 and other infections, BV said in a prepared statement. The program provides procedures and measures to protect passengers, company personnel, and other stakeholders as operations are resumed, helping ensure that appropriate health and safety standards are put in place.

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Small Ship Company UnCruise to Start

UnCruise Adventures has confirmed that its 2020 Alaska sailings will start on August 1.

“As one of the first companies to restart service, this is a pivotal moment for the travel industry and Alaska,” said UnCruise Adventures Owner and CEO Dan Blanchard (pictured). “These initial departures represent a re-framing of what adventure travelers are increasingly looking for, small groups, inclusion, and human connection.”

The initial Alaska sailing will take guests roundtrip from Juneau to Juneau on its seven-night Glacier Bay National Park Adventure with an enhanced wilderness itinerary.

Virgin Voyages Unveils New Health Protocols

Virgin has unveiled some new health protocols. View more info here.

Key pillars of the Voyage Well Plan include:
● Rapid and effective COVID-19 testing for all Sailors and Crew prior to embarking.
● Post-voyage notification process through which Sailors and Crew can report on becoming unwell within 14 days of leaving the shi* (through an ethical health tracking app).
● Advanced pre-boarding health checks and screenings for both our Crew and Sailors.
● Thermal Camera technology in terminals and on board to monitor our Crew and Sailors’ temperatures.
● Fair and flexible booking policies — from moving the final payment dates to 60 days (from 120 days) before sailing, ability to cancel up to 48 hours before and receive a 100% Future Voyage Credit for sailings through December 16th, 2020.
● Implementing best practices around sanitation, physical distancing, limited occupancy, and health checks for everyone onboard.
● Installing the latest technology from AtmosAir Solutions — an air purification system that disinfects air on board. Leveraging bi-polar Ionization technology that has been shown to kill 99.9% of viruses.
● Managing overall ship occupancy so appropriate physical distancing is possible across all public spaces.
● Leveraging digital onboard technology to limit contact; The Band (for contactless payment), Service Chat (for assistance digitally) and Virtual Queues (for getting in lines for onboard experiences without actually getting in physical lines).
● As has always been a part of the Virgin Voyages experience since first introducing the brand, there will be no communal food sharing, buffets or large dining halls, allowing for hygienic service of fresh food.

Paul Gauguin To Start Operations in July

Paul Gauguin Cruises has announced the resumption of its Tahiti and French Polynesia small-ship voyages starting in July 2020 and an extensive COVID-safe protocol from owner Ponant.

French Polynesia is officially re-opening to international tourism on July 15, 2020.

The line will offer its seven-night Tahiti & the Society Islands voyages departing July 11 and July 18, 2020, for the local French Polynesian market.

The itinerary highlights the natural wonders and rich culture of the islands, departs and returns to Papeete, Tahiti, and features visits to Huahine and Motu Mahana (the line’s private islet off the coast of Taha’a), along with two days in Bora Bora (with daily access to a private beach), and two days in Moorea.

The company will welcome both local and international guests on its 10-night Society Islands & Tuamotus voyage departing July 29, 2020, from Papeete, Tahiti.

In addition to sailing the islands of Huahine, Bora Bora, Motu Mahana, and Moorea, this itinerary also features calls at the atolls of Rangiroa and Fakarava in the Tuamotu Archipelago.

In August 2020 and beyond, Paul Gauguin resumes its previously scheduled seven- to 14-night Tahiti, French Polynesia, and South Pacific sailings.

Ponant Announces Comprehensive COVID-Safe Protocol

Ponant is underscoring its leadership in the cruise industry and aims to be back in service on the French coast in July while also announcing new extensive new protocols to complement the already existing hygiene and sanitary measures in place.

The strategy will include strict measures for guests, crew members and goods boarding the ships and enhanced onboard safety protocols, the company said, in a press release.

Ponant said it is collaborating with the IHU (Institut Hospitalo-Universitaire) Méditerranée Infection of Marseilles, one of the world’s leading centers in the field of infectious diseases, as well as with the Battalion of Marine Firemen of Marseilles.

Ponant is also the only expedition line to apply to Bureau Veritas Safeguard status, a label which certifies the efficacy of the health protocols.

The updated guidelines developed by the French-flagged line is based on health standards that exceed international regulations.

In addition to strict cleaning procedures advised by the Centers for Disease Control (CDC) and World Health Organization (WHO), implementation of social distancing requirements and enhanced employee training, new measures include:

Pre-Boarding
• Prior to boarding, all guests and crew members will have to present a signed doctor’s medical form, complete a health questionnaire and undergo a health check and screening by the ship’s medical staff.
• All luggage will pass through a disinfecting zone by sanitizing mist or UV lamps.
• Surgical and cloth masks, disinfecting wipes and hand sanitizer bottles will be provided to passengers.

Onboard Experience
• 100 percent fresh air in staterooms, through non-recirculating air conditioning systems. Ventilated air will be renewed in the common areas at least five times per hour.
• Restaurant layouts have been redesigned and will only offer contactless a la carte dining options.
• Public spaces, such as the fitness room and theater will be capped at 50 percent occupancy.
• Hourly disinfecting of high-touch points, such as door handles and handrails, with peroxide, which eliminates 100% of germs and bacteria
• Crew members are required to wear a mask or protective visor when in contact with guests. Guests will be asked to wear a mask in hallway corridors and will be recommended in public spaces.
• Thanks to large investments over several years, Ponant said it has some of the most complete and renowned onboard medical centers in the world of cruising. Each vessel is equipped with advanced hospital equipment, including mobile laboratory terminals that enable testing on site for infectious or tropical diseases. Advanced diagnostic equipment such as ultrasound, radiology and blood biological analysis is available fleet-wide, one doctor and one nurse are present on every sailing.
• All ships will have five vacant staterooms should guests need to isolate.

NORWEGIAN CRUISE LINE RELEASES NEW HEALTH PROTOCOLS

June 02, 2020

Norwegian Cruise Line is inching closer to entering service and has released a number of new health protocols on its website.

As part of the company’s Peace of Mind policy, it is adding a Public Health Officer to each ship and expanding the medical staff across the fleet.

The company is overseeing the installation of medical-grade air-filters, H13 HEPA, that remove 99.95% of airborne pathogens across to ensure the air is clean.

All guests will undergo an enhanced pre-embarkation health screening, and those considered at risk will undergo additional screening. Additionally, all crew will undergo extensive screening prior to embarkation and constant monitoring throughout the voyage, Norwegian said.

Touchless temperature checks and continuous monitoring of guests and crew throughout the voyage will help identify potential health issues, offering an additional layer of prevention and protection.

Norwegian noted that all ships will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected prior to every voyage in accordance with company protocols, which are developed in partnership with CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program.

Embarkation terminals will be sanitized continuously, and, where possible, fogged before and after each embarkation and debarkation.

Further, all staterooms, suites and public areas will be cleaned, sanitized and disinfected at an increased frequency, and including the use of Electrostatic Spray Technology, including fogging in staterooms and public areas with the disinfectant hypochlorous acid (HOCI). Hypochlorous acid is a non-toxic, powerful oxidant that effectively kills bacteria, spores, and viruses.

“Our 24/7 prevention schedule will feature continuous disinfection of public areas and high-traffic touch points. We will ensure that cleaning occurs continuously for all elevators and all public areas during on and off-peak hours,” the company said.

Buffets and beverage stations will be full service with staff available to serve guests.

Capacity wise, the company said it won’t operate at full capacity, and is working to get COVID-19 rapid testing kits onboard.

MarineXchange Receives Government Grant for Artificial Intelligence Project

MarineXchange Receives Government Grant for Artificial Intelligence Project

The Austrian Research Promotion Agency (FFG) has officially announced to support the development of an AI (Artificial intelligence) forecasting project with MarineXchange (MXP), which provides enterprise software solutions to the cruise industry.

“Accurate supply chain forecasting is a huge challenge for the cruise industry,” MXP said, in a press release .”Because ships are deployed worldwide, items can have different specifications and pack sizes. Consumption patterns depend on guest profiles, seasonal items, substitutions and menu cycles. Vendor performance, freight and currency exchange rates need to be considered. The overall CO2 impact, waste reduction and fair trade are additional factors. To aid cruise companies in this complex decision-making process, more accurate forecasts are needed.”

By using AI, Big Data Analysis and Deep Learning methods, MXP will take marine Supply Chain Management to a whole new level, according to the company, by using the latest technologies like cloud computing.

The new AI forecasting module will be fully integrated with the MXP enterprise supply chain software and e-commerce portal.

MXP noted that the Austrian government considers this project highly innovative and with great potential and supports it with a grant.

 

Changes in Cleanliness and Protocol – Covid19

Managing Operations in a Food service Establishment or Retail Food Store – FDA
Help customers maintain good infection control and social distancing by:
· Discontinuing operations, such as salad bars, buffets, and beverage service stations that require customers to use common utensils or dispensers.
· Finding ways to encourage spacing between customers while in line for service or check out in accordance with the applicable State or local requirements
Source: https://www.fda.gov/food/food-safety-during-emergencies/best-practices-retail-food-stores-restaurants-and-food-pick-updelivery-services-during-covid-19#operations

· Amanda J. Deering, a clinical assistant professor with the Department of Food Science at Purdue University told TODAY that she would continue eating at buffets if they’re following guidelines and ensuring cleanliness by disinfecting frequently to help prevent the spread of the virus.
· Similarly, Dr. Shira Doron, an infectious disease physician and hospital epidemiologist at Tufts Medical Center, said she won’t discourage eating at buffets “provided cautionary measures are in place.”
· The new measures being adopted by restaurants include having waitstaff plate buffet meals rather than offering a self-serve option, markers placed in the guest line to promote proper social distancing, and the option of table side delivery. Additionally, Doron suggests the separation of tables, sneeze guards at the buffet, and limited groups allowed to approach the buffet at all times.
Source: https://www.restaurantbusinessonline.com/financing/end-buffet
Food service and Cruising
• When the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued the recent ‘No Sail Order’ for cruise ships in US ports, the CDC didn’t elucidate what sort of social distancing they deem adequate on ships . Telegraph suggests the following when dealing with social distancing: the density of guests onboard a cruise ship is defined as the passenger space ratio – the higher the number, the greater the space per guest. This ratio can be calculated by dividing a ship’s gross tonnage by its total number of passengers occupying lower berths. This benchmark is a reliable guide to the amount of space for social distancing
• Self-service changes: buffets will no longer be self-service and the number of guests entering this area will also be strictly controlled. Ship’s crew in protective masks and gloves will be positioned behind each service station and will dispense each item directly onto guest’s plates, thus avoiding multiple people touching the same utensils with the potential risk of contagion. Subject to constant monitoring; these measures may have to be up scaled
• Crew will also be positioned at the entrances and exits of every dining outlet to ensure mandatory hand sanitization. Plus all touch-points will be disinfected by handheld electrostatic sprayers; these include ship’s handrails and lift call buttons. Other frequently used items such as salt and pepper shakers as well as butter portions and sachets of sugar will no longer be placed on dining tables. Bowls of peanuts and crisps will disappear from tables in every bar. It is also likely that traditional paper menus as well as those in cloth folders will be replaced by app-based menus. Modern technology has been successfully incorporated in Celebrity Cruises’ specialty restaurants where Qsine offers a roller coaster of palate pleasers selected from an iPad menu; these too will be sanitized after every use.
• Asian cruise group Genting – parent company of Crystal Cruises – is introducing enhanced measures including limiting quotas at buffets to half the venue capacity to provide ample space between guests
• Cruise Critic, Antonio Paradiso, managing director UK and Ireland, said: “There will be changes in terms of how we handle the serving of food and beverages on board or how our entertainment offering is run. It is also possible that we may sail with reduced capacity, but these are things that we are still working through to ensure we will be ready to commence operations again in the safest possible way.”
Source: https://www.telegraph.co.uk/travel/cruises/articles/cruise-experience-post-coronavirus/
Cruising – Public Health
CLIA’s Members have adopted the following policy for all oceangoing vessels:
• All embarking persons are to receive pre-boarding health screening, to assist in preventing the spread of communicable diseases
• In light of recent developments related to COVID-19 the policy has been amended with preventative measures applicable to crew and others that board ships while passenger services are suspended
• Deny boarding to all persons with severe chronic medical conditions, including those specified by the U.S. CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html
• Conduct illness screening for all persons. Illness screening will include symptom history checks for fever, cough and difficulty breathing in the 14 days before embarkation and the taking of the person’s temperature. Any individual with a temperature reading at or above 100.4 degrees F / 38 degrees C is to be denied boarding.
• Deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days prior to embarkation, have had contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who are currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.
Source: https://cruising.org/about-the-industry/policy-priorities/clia-oceangoing-cruise-line-policies/health

 

Three Cruise Lines Plan to Start Service Again

Three cruise lines have detailed their re-entry into service following the COVID-19 pandemic, signaling a stepped introduction back to regular cruising while keeping operations close to home.

Carnival

Carnival Cruise Line has rolled out its plan to start North American service this summer, beginning on August 1 with a total of eight ships from Miami, Port Canaveral and Galveston.

Galveston: Carnival Dream, Carnival Freedom and Carnival Vista.
Miami: Carnival Horizon, Carnival Magic and Carnival Sensation.
Port Canaveral: Carnival Breeze and Carnival Elation.

Marella 

Should it be safe to set sail, Marella Cruises will commence its summer 2020 program in July 2020, with three of its five ships sailing.

The Marella Explorer will set sail from Corfu, the Marella Explorer 2 from the UK and the Marella Discovery from Palma all as originally planned.

The Marella Discovery 2 will start sailings in winter 2020 and will no longer operate from Naples for the summer 2020 season. The Marella Dream will no longer sail from Palma this season as she will resume sailing in summer 2021.

The Marella Celebration will be retired from the fleet, as previously announced.

Bahamas Paradise

Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line today announced an update to its sailing schedule.

Sailings will resume onboard Grand Celebration on June 13 and onboard Grand Classica on July 10, according to a press release. Both ships sail from Palm Beach to the Bahamas.

Source: Cruise Industry News