After three months in lockdown and staying at home, most of us are ready to pack our bags and travel once more. Similarly, many cruise companies are ready to take to the high seas once more but alas, have hit a snag.
Many countries are not ready to open their borders and ports yet to international visitors. Canada and Australia have placed an extension on their cruise ship bans to later this year. The Cayman Islands did the same. And the Seychelles, an Indian Ocean archipelago, doesn’t want to see ships until 2022, according to international media reporting.
And yet, despite this, travellers have shown a willingness to travel and sail once more. In fact, cruise companies are seeing a rise in bookings for cruises in 2021. In April 2020, cruise booking site, CruiseCompete.com has seen a 40% increase for its 2021 bookings in comparison to its 2019 bookings. Heidi M. Allison, the president of CruiseCompete.com shared that based on the available data, the demand for booking post-pandemic cruises is still strong, an encouraging sign for cruise lines.
Indeed, the current pandemic has put the safety of cruises into question with several high-profile outbreaks at sea. While they wait for borders to open and the green flag to sail once more, some cruise companies such as Holland America has taken the initiative to set several of their own health and hygiene procedures in place for the safety and assurance of their clients.
The medical experts at Holland America have worked closely with the global health authorities to implement any new recommendation even during the temporary suspension of onboard operations to ensure they are always updated with the latest SOP.
Among some of the safety measures and policies implemented across their fleet include timely safety and hygiene communications with guests. Throughout the ship, guests can get information and tips in the daily programme, the onboard digital screens and on their stateroom televisions. There will also be daily announcements and reminders made by the Cruise and Travel Director.
Hand sanitizer dispensers will also be made readily available in high-traffic locations, including all entrances to all dining rooms and the Lido Market, the poolside food and cuisine marketplace available on Holland America's ships. Furthermore, Lido Market hand sanitizer stations are staffed to prompt guests to either use the sanitizer or use the available hand washing stations. All food service stations, including Lido Market, will be staffed. Any self-serve areas that remain, such as condiment set-ups, will be monitored by dedicated personnel. All serving utensils in self-service locations are replaced every 30 minutes.
All guest corridors including handrails, elevator buttons and stateroom door handles are frequently sanitized. A nightly deep cleaning and disinfection process for all highly-trafficked public areas using foggers, including: all restaurants, the fitness center, spa, Lido deck areas, promenade, casino, medical center, public restrooms, lounges, bars, lobbies, elevators, atrium, youth activity centers, arcades and all crew public areas.
To ensure stringent cleanliness of its accommodation facilities, stateroom surfaces and fixtures are thoroughly cleaned up to twice daily with particular attention to bathrooms, handles, and frequently touched surfaces. An Oxivir solution is used as a secondary sanitation method on all touch points after each stateroom is serviced by housekeeping.
Should any guests develop flu-like symptoms, the Medical Center are equipped with doctors and nursers who are ready to assist with thorough evaluation, treatment and care. Guests will receive complimentary consultation. Holland America will also ensure that the stateroom of the unwell guest will receive additional deep cleaning. All bed linens, table cloths, towels, napkins, etc. in the affected room will be laundered in a high-temperature sanitation wash and dry program.
Holland America will continue to adhere to the travel habits recommended by the World Health Organization (WHO) and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). To learn more about their efforts to ensure smooth sailings in the future, you can read up on their safety and sanitation procedures on their website.
When cruising is allowed to resume, it's likely that the CDC will place new requirements on the cruise lines for health and safety compliance based on the ever evolving Covid-19 situations. During this downtime, Holland America Line is actively developing several additional new health protocols, which will be shared before their ships resume operations where they look forward to welcoming guests once more to savour the experience.
Right now, Holland America is looking forward to welcoming passengers on board its ships once more with a special limited time only Save Now, Cruise Later Have It All Sale. When you book by 30 September, you will receive up to $2,300 (RM9,830) in extras in cruises later this year and in 2021 and 2022 voyages. These include:
Free Signature Dining Package
Free Wi-Fi for Suites
50% Reduced Deposit
On top of that, you will also receive a discounted cruise fare if you choose a non-refundable deposit (restricted fare).
If you're still on the fence about sailing this year, you can also take advantage of Holland America's Book with Confidence office which is applicable on any new bookings made by 31 August 2020 on sailings departing on or before December 31, 2021. Book your cruise with confidence knowing that you can cancel for any reason up to 30 days before the departure of the cruise and receive a Future Cruise Credit, which this Future Cruise Credit can be used towards any sailing departing through December 31, 2022.
With heightened SOPs with the safety of their passengers and guests in mind and several offers to save on, guests can only feel confidence and assured when sailing with Holland America. For more information and to make your bookings, you can contact Sedunia Travel at firstname.lastname@example.org or call 03 2148 4566 to speak to a dedicated travel agent.