Costa Cruises has said it is waiting for the final sign offs from authorities to start operations with its new “Costa Safety Protocol” system in place.
Carnival’s Italian cruise brand said the protocols were supported by a panel of independent scientific experts in Public Health coordinated by V.I.H.T.A.L.I. (Value in Health Technology and Academy for Leadership and Innovation), a spin-off of the Università Cattolica of Rome.
Costa said it has worked in line with several global and national health guidelines to develop the new guidelines which represent a comprehensive set of measures and procedures, including the safety of crew members as they return to work onboard, the booking process, embarking and disembarking operations in port, life and medical care onboard and shore excursions.
For crew, they will require two different swab tests for evaluation of suspected COVID-19 cases prior to leaving their home countries.
Upon arrival in Italy they are tested a third time; those confirmed negative are allowed onboard while respecting a 14-day period of quarantine. Their health conditions are monitored with temperature checks every day and the swab tests to all of crew every month.
For guests, the new experience starts at home with self check-in and online health questionnaire.
There will be health screenings with temperature checks for guests, carried out every time a guest comes off or on the ship, and at all the ports of call included in the itinerary.
Onboard, self-service kiosks will let guests check 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 sanitization 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 interiors and outside decks of each ship will be subject to more frequent cleaning and sanitization using special products, as well as additional disinfection dispensers will be placed at check-in and on board. The onboard ventilation systems have been equipped with new filters that ensure high filtering efficiency of fresh air from the outside, minimizing the recirculation of the internal one.
The entertainment program has been modified to allow more shows during the day for smaller groups of people. As for catering, self service restaurants will not be operated and all meals will be served by the Costa staff.
Onboard medical care for all guests and crew will be available around the clock. The ships will be equipped with PCR-test-kits and diagnostic devices authorized by European Union for the immediate evaluation of suspected COVID-19 cases, and the medical team onboard has been trained in the relevant test procedures and treatment methods.
Costa said extensive processes have been 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 are free of charge for all guests and specific insurance coverage is provided.