Curious how cruise ships will operate when they sail again? We now have some idea, thanks to a cruise line that heads out into the Pacific next month.
Paul Gauguin Cruises in Tahiti resumes sailing on July 11, with a seven-night cruise around Tahiti and the Society Islands.
The seven-deck vessel has a relatively small capacity as cruise ships go. It serves 332 guests and holds 217 crew. (So about 550 people.) It’s not some 4,000 or 5,000 passenger behemoth you’d see with a major cruise line. (My wife and I honeymooned on the Paul Gauguin almost ten years ago. We love the Gauguin and her crew. That was my first cruise and absolutely spoiled me forever. Imagine my shock when I boarded a Carnival cruise a couple of years later. 🙂 )
I think a smaller ship like the Gauguin and its relatively low number of guests and crew naturally lends itself to sort of a “test run” for the cruise industry.
You can read about all the company’s mandates in the booklet. But here are some broad strokes that I thought you might find interesting.
Prior to Traveling
Thirty (30) days before departure, a passenger’s personal doctor must complete a “health questionnaire.”
Then two days before the ship leaves, passengers must give themselves a “self-check,” which entails a negative individual test (I assume for COVID-19), no contact with at-risk individuals, and displaying no coronavirus symptoms.
Finally, passengers will handover a second medical questionnaire (“declaration of health”) and undergo a medical examination by a member of the cruise’s medical team.
Passengers’ luggage and personal belongings will go through a decontamination process that uses misting and/or ultraviolet lamps. Plus, guests will also receive “precautionary kits” with cloth masks, surgical masks, wipes, disinfectants, sprays, gels — you know, the usual suspects.
Everyone must stay at least six feet apart, of course, while boarding and on the ship.
Masks are required only in hallways — but encouraged everywhere else.
For cleaning, Paul Gauguin Cruises says they’re using Ecolab’s PEROXIDE, which they say is “the most effective product.”
Staterooms will be cleaned twice daily. Common areas get the treatment “every day” (though frequency isn’t stated). And frequently-touched objects (“door handles, handrails, some furniture…”) will be cleaned hourly.
Common Areas and Excursions
Here are some more details that stood out to me.
- Zodiacs will be limited to six guests. And masks must be worn at all times during on-shore excursions. Passengers must pass temperature checks before being allowed back on the ship. (If not, they’re sent into a medical protocol.)
- Seating in the showroom/theatre will be limited to “small groups.”
- Restaurants are resigned and buffets are history. Plus, restaurants will offer extended breakfast and lunch hours (I presume to accommodate more people throughout the day because of limited capacity.)
It’ll be interesting to see how this all plays out. Seychelles banned cruise ships until 2022, some US and European cruise lines are waiting until fall 2020, and the Paul Gauguin goes out in about four weeks. Paul Gauguin Cruises has positioned itself (no cruise pun intended) to be sort of a guinea pig or testing ground for the industry.
Featured image courtesy of Paul Gauguin Cruises
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