Cruising is back, but what about life on board? What measures are taken to make sure your cruise vacation is a safe and enjoyable vacation. We recently set sail with Costa Cruises to find out what cruising 2.0 is like: A friendly wave and a big smile behind a face mask.
We recently made our great ‘Cruise To Travel-comeback’ on board the amazing Costa Firenze. Following our posts on social media we received a lot of questions about our experience and cruising with Costa Cruises in general. While a lot of people were interested in Costa Cruises’ newest vessel, Costa Firenze was delivered in december 2020 and set sail on her maiden voyage in July, most also had questions about life and safety measures on board. We’ve assembled the most asked questions and compiled them into ‘8 things you should know about cruising with Costa‘.
1. Pre-boarding and boarding Costa Firenze
To facilitate the boarding process and minimize time at the terminal, the check-in is carried out completely online. You can check-in 72 hours before your departure. Before receiving your cruise ticket, you must fill in a self-certification questionnaire regarding your health status.
At the terminal, the boarding times are staggered to facilitate compliance with the correct social distancing rules and to ensure safe boarding. Upon arrival at the terminal in Barcelona there were only a few others guests in the building resulting in no waiting lines at the security, a quick health screening – including body temperature and a Covid diagnostic test (swab test), followed by a quick check-in. Waiting times for the Covid test results were more than acceptable (less then one hour).
2. A Costa vacation is a smart vacation
The best way to ensure you are getting the most of your cruise vacation is by customizing and planning your vacation before you set sail. MyCosta (www.mycosta.com) offers the opportunity to completely customize your cruise by adding adding excursions, drink packages, spa treatments, photos and gifts with the Costa logo. You can book the packages and services in advance and pay for them when you are on board. All you need to do is simply connect your credit card to your boarding card at one of the terminals onboard.
On MyCosta you will also find everything you need to simplify embarkation formalities like the web check-in service and cruise ticket (if you booked directly with Costa Cruises). Here you will also find a calendar with an up to date schedule of all your bookings.
Your smartphone is your best travel companion! Thanks to the Costa App and the QR codes you can enjoy a wonderful holiday with complete digital security. It’s easy and good for the environment because it also means less paper to throw away!
On board you’ll find digital screens and interactive monitors in public areas, a dedicated info TV channel in the cabin and the new Call Me service, plus a convenient personalized assistance via the cabin phone to keep you updated on what’s happening on the ship.
3. More space on board for you to enjoy your vacation
Costa Cruises has reduced the number of passengers on board to make social distancing easier and guarantee a safe and pleasant cruise. At the moment Costa ships are sailing at a maximum capacity of 70% with means the ship never feels too busy or crowded. During our cruise vacation Costa Firenze was sailing with about 2.000 passengers (the ship has capacity for over 5,200 guests) which meant the ship never felt crowded.
The common areas and relaxation rooms on the ships have been remodeled and are accessible to only a limited number of people at the same time. For the shows in the main theatre for example, crew scan your cruise card (for contact tracing) and the number of guests is counted. There is adequate signposting in high-traffic areas and crew members are always at hand to help you get around easily.
4. Enjoying the whole ship in safety
The public areas are sanitized several times a day with new disinfection methods including virus-killing nebulizers. Cabins are subject to a virus-killing disinfection before your arrival and they are cleaned and sanitized on a daily basis.
The air on board the ship is purified by high efficiency filters and the on-board ventilation systems offer optimal filtering of fresh air from outside, minimizing the circulation of internal air.
Just as on land protective masks (surgical or higher protection masks) must be worn when walking around in public areas. In all the main areas of the ship there are plenty of sanitizing gel dispensers to help you keep your hands clean and sanitized all the time. Guests also need to do a daily temperature check on one of the scanners on the ship. In addition to the Covid diagnostic test (swab test) before embarking guests also need to do a repeat test in the middle of the cruise. Following Spanish rules we had to undergo a third test the day before disembarking in Barcelona
Costa ships have a fully equipped medical center onboard and all crew members have received specific training courses to respond to signs of health problems. All crew members are also subject to daily body temperature checks and periodical tests.
5. Breakfast and lunch are always served
The restaurants onboard on the ship are set up in order to respect social distancing and you are asked to only sit with the travel companion(s) included in your booking. To allow a maximum of social distance the main restaurants offer a wider time slot to access so you can have breakfast and lunch at leisure.
Before ordering you simply scan the QR code on the tables and you can check the daily food and drink menus directly on your smartphone.
Guests wanting to eat at the buffet restaurant need to wait in line to be seated. A crew member will provide a tray and cutlery. At the counter you simply tell a crew member what you want to eat and they will serve it on a plate. During our cruise we only checked out the buffet restaurant once and could really appreciate being assigned a table instead of having to walk around looking for a table. On board Costa Firenze the buffet restaurant was open for breakfast and lunch.
6. Non-stop fun for everyone
To allow you to enjoy the shows and performances in a safe manner they are repeated several times during the cruise. During our cruise the shows in the main theatre were performed twice daily. We found that with only 2.000 guests on board there was always plenty of space in the theatre to fully enjoy the performances.
In the fitness room and casino the number of training equipment and slot machines in use was limited as was the number of people allowed in the room. Safety signs next to the swimming pools and hot tubs indicate the maximum number of people allowed to use the facility at the same time.
The Squok Club for kids is sanitized several times a day. The kids area is open at specific times and accessible to a limited number of persons .
7. Going ashore with exclusive tours
Following Italian government rules, going ashore is only possible by purchasing one of the cruise line’s excursions. These Costa shore excursions are set up following strict rules: limited group size, sanitized buses and wearing of protective masks (on the bus). Tour guides always wear protective masks and provide information through disposable earphones.
8. Ask the crew
If you have any questions or concerns don’t hesitate to contact a member of the crew. All crew members have received specific training courses relating to compliance with safety protocols and practices. If any guests show signs of health problems the crew is trained to respond immediately with set intervention procedures. Furthermore all crew members use gloves when appropriate and always wear protective masks. They are subject to daily body temperature checks and their state of health is monitored constantly.
Have you recently been a on cruise? We’d love to know how you experienced life on board and which measures were taken to keep you safe.