The gradual restart of operations of Costa Cruises – once authorities give green light – will be supported by a comprehensive set of health procedures, developed by Costa with a panel of independent scientific experts. The Italian cruise line also applied for RINA’s Biosafety Trust Certification, a voluntary scheme for management systems designed to prevent the spread of infections.
While waiting for the final authorization to restart its operations, Costa Cruises is introducing the “Costa Safety Protocol”, the new health and hygiene protocol specifically designed to guarantee the best holiday experience with maximum safety.
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 Cruises has worked in line with several global and national health guidelines to develop the “Costa Safety Protocol”. The protocol includes a comprehensive set of measures and procedures, including the safety of guests and crew members, the booking process, embarking and disembarking operations in port, life and medical care on board and shore excursions.
Part of the initiative is also the application to the RINA’s Biosafety Trust Certification, a scheme that examines all aspects of life on board – from hotel services to catering, fitness and relaxation areas – and confirms the correct management of health issues, following a series of audits conducted both on the ships and shoreside.
First of all, with regards to crew, Costa is implementing measures to pre-screen each crew member in their own country of origin, including two different swab tests for evaluation of suspected COVID-19 cases. Upon arrival in Italy they are tested a third time. Those confirmed negative are allowed on board while respecting a 14-day period of “quarantine”. Their health conditions are monitored with temperature checks every day and swab tests for all of crew members every month.
As far as future guests are concerned, the measures include upgraded digital procedures, such as online check-in and self-certification, which can be done from home. The role of digital technology will be increased. This will include the possibility to book services using the dedicated MyCosta app. Guests will undergo health screenings with temperature checks when they access and exit the the ship in the ports of call included in the itinerary. On board checks will be possible at any time of the day thanks to self-service electronic devices.
Physical distancing will be respected upon arrival in each cruise terminal, with similar measures for shore tours. These hich have been redesigned with small groups of people and staggered departures. Tourbuses will be sanitized before and after each use.
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 subjected to more frequent cleaning and sanitization using special products. Additional disinfection dispensers will be placed at check-in and on board.
The on-board 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 air.
Entertainment programs and catering will also be rearranged in compliance with the new safety standards. The entertainment offer 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. The medical team on board has been trained in the relevant test procedures and treatment methods. Together with the responsible authorities, 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.