Hapag-Lloyd Cruises is planning to set sail again starting at the end of July 2020, with extensive hygiene and preventive measures. The cruise company will restart cruises from Hamburg with their luxury ship, the EUROPA 2, and their expedition ship, the HANSEATIC inspiration.
Kindly note that in accordance with the German authorities, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises has agreed to only welcome guests who are resident in Germany, Austria and Switzerland at this time. Thanks to the positive developments with regard to containing COVID-19 in these countries and the comparatively short distances to the departure point, it is assumed that the risk of infection from people resident in these countries is similarly low.
The protection and health of guests and crew always have top priority for Hapag-Lloyd Cruises. Together with experts and the relevant authorities, we have developed a safety and prevention concept for the resumption of cruise operations. This concept is the basis of the following ten-point plan, the measures of which will enable a safe and comfortable cruise on board and meet the highest hygiene standards with regard to COVID-19. In addition to organisation, capacity planning and hygiene measures, the plan also includes in-depth training for the crew on board.
All passengers boarding the ship must provide a completed health questionnaire on embarkation, and undergo a health check. If anything out of the ordinary is found, the medical team will conduct a PCR test in the terminal, which will then be immediately analysed by a laboratory. The guests and crew will also undergo mandatory screening with thermal imaging cameras before boarding. A great deal of attention and time will be devoted to this procedure, so boarding will be performed in groups. The required minimum distance will also need to be observed during boarding.
Restarting with around 40% less guests enables even more space in public areas. Everyone on board must maintain a distance of 1.5 m (4.9 ft) from others in the public areas of the ship, including the restaurants and fitness rooms.
The crew will undergo a period of isolation and will undergo PCR test. In addition, they will have their temperature checked by the medical team each day before they begin their shift. Crew members will wear face masks.
The modern air conditioning systems on board guarantee that the cabins (for guests and crew) and the public areas are supplied with a 100 per cent fresh supply of air. The fresh air is cleaned through a filter. Extracted air is diverted directly outside without being mixed.
The number of tables in the restaurants will be reduced, and guests will be seated with a minimum distance of 1.5 m between tables. This means that the number of guests in the restaurant will be limited. The opening times of the restaurants and other services will be extended to allow all guests sufficient space and time to dine.
Keeping the number of staff members at the usual high levels, while significantly reducing passenger numbers, means more individual service and more resources for implementing the hygiene measures. We will still have great gastronomic variety in the restaurants and at the buffets. There will be no self-service in the restaurants, at the buffets, or in the bars.
Sport and entertainment events will have fewer participants and will not involve close physical contact. Visitors to the spa area and hairdresser will be governed by the latest regulations from the Hamburg authorities.
The ships are equipped with thermal body cameras and also a laboratory. The number of disinfectant dispensers on board will be significantly increased so that guests and staff can disinfect their hands at all key contact points, for example at gangways, at all places where food and drinks are available, and in fitness and lobby areas.
Each guest on board will also be given a care set with face masks – also known as surgical masks – which must be worn on board at any time when maintaining the minimum distance is difficult (in the lift, during embarkation and disembarkation, shopping in the boutique, etc.). The masks from the care set are a preventive measure and meet the relevant legal regulations.
Health staff on board will be responsible for implementing all the new measures. Hapag-Lloyd Cruises will provide in-depth training on the new prevention and hygiene measures for the crew on board. In addition, a Public Heath Specialist will be appointed for this purpose on each ship.