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:
• 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.
• 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.
• Zodiacs will be thoroughly disinfected after each stopover.
• Re-boarding after shore excursions will only be permitted after temperature check and disinfection procedures (individuals and personal belongings).
A complete ‘COVID-Safety Protocol’ manifesto has been developed and is available online here.