“We have taken extraordinary measures in preparation for this relaunch and are faced with a new travel reality with significantly stricter prevention and hygiene standards. We have taken our time because the safety of our guests and crew and the trust of those in charge of the German ports is very important to us,” says Karl J. Pojer, CEO of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. “For the relaunch, in accordance with the German authorities, we have agreed to exclusively welcome guests who are resident in Germany, Austria and Switzerland on board at first. In the next phase, we will evaluate whether we are able to allow guests who are resident in other countries to travel with us, depending on the development of the infection rate in those countries.”
“Our relaunch will be carried out in a controlled fashion, and we are going above and beyond the requirements set forth by the authorities. Between each cruise, we will purposely have a reset day without guests on board. Our reset day is for general cleaning and disinfection of the entire ship, and will help to establish the new procedure. Our aim is to make our guest’s time on board safe, care-free and enjoyable, by observing the necessary rules in regards to maintaining distance and providing personal and individual service. Our small ships offer ideal conditions for this,” says Pojer.
The Hapag-Lloyd Cruises ten-point plan
Before the cruises even begin, the mandatory disclosure of health information will be provided to guests and will need to be signed. Also, the use of thermal imaging cameras will be used upon embarkation, and there will be a staggered and controlled boarding process ensure that comprehensive prevention measures will be taken, and distance will be maintained from the start.
The crew will also undergo a thorough health check. They will complete a period of quarantine before they start their duties and will be given a PCR test. Crew members will have their temperatures checked each day before they start their shift. There is supervised medical team onboard, emergency and contingency plans in place, as well as a comprehensive training and safety programme for the crew as part of the new health and safety concept. The medical team has been expanded and there is a Public Health Manager, responsible for the implementation of preventive and hygiene measures.
The small luxury and expedition ships from the Hapag-Lloyd Cruises fleet offer plenty of space, and therefore satisfy the rules regarding social distancing, with a minimum distance of 1.5 metres (5 feet) in public areas. For areas where this is not possible – such as during embarkation and disembarkation or in the elevators, guests on board will be given a care set which include face masks. All cabins are spacious outside cabins, mainly with balconies, providing private places to retreat to on board.
All ships are equipped with thermal imaging cameras and a mobile laboratory to provide rapid detection of viral diseases, such as COVID-19. Cold fogging devices will be used for area-wide deep cleaning of suites, cabins and public areas. In addition, the number of disinfectant dispensers on board has been significantly increased.
The new standards will be seamlessly integrated into life on board, so that the enjoyment of our guests is as unimpaired as possible: the crew–to-passenger ratio of 1:1 means individual and personal service. The number of seats available in the restaurants will be reduced, and the opening times will be extended. There will be no self-service in the restaurants, the buffets, or in the bars. All meals can also be served in cabins, with 24-hour room service available. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises also guarantees a 100% fresh air supply in the cabins and all public areas.
Hamburg, July 2020