Windstar Cruises has committed to a holistic Beyond Ordinary Care program and will retrofit its fleet of six yachts with hospital-grade HEPA filters, ultraviolet germicidal irradiation and will employ a safe sanitization formula used in health care settings. A new partnership with the epidemiology department at the University of Colorado’s Anschutz Medical Center provides ongoing guidance.
Windstar is making significant investments and major operational adjustments to meet the requirements of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and global governmental and public health guidance. Enhanced cleaning protocols on board include crew dedicated to frequent cleaning with special attention to high touch points and public areas. Going further, the Beyond Ordinary Care program employs proven technology and the highest-standard cleaning methods in combination with each other, as follows:
1. Install high-efficiency particulate air (HEPA) filters to filter the air on board Current CDC Guidelines for Environmental Infection Control in Healthcare Facilities recommend HEPA filtration for recirculated air from patient isolation rooms in hospitals. These filters are being installed in the HVAC systems on all Windstar yachts.
2. Add yet another layer to sanitize/disinfect the HEPA-filtered air with UV-C light for germicidal irradiation Once air has moved through the HEPA filtration system, there is an opportunity to “zap” the air with UV-C light (also called germicidal irradiation) before the air recirculates on the ship. When air passes the UV-C light, microbes such as bacteria and viruses not trapped in the HEPA filter will be destroyed. Germicidal irradiation is a solution that has been proven to kill coronaviruses.
3. Use EvaClean with PurTab for disinfecting surfaces via sprayers In addition to an elevated frequency of cleaning, sanitizing provides another layer of safety. This EPA-approved powerful sanitizer utilizes a safe and effective formula for disinfecting all types of hard and soft surfaces throughout the ship including guest rooms, crew spaces, and all public spaces. It has been used for everything from lower-level sanitization required for food-contact surfaces to powerful infection control used in health care settings. Every yacht will have the following areas sanitized regularly by dedicated crew trained and assigned to monitor and clean the ship by use of the improved sanitation products:
- Guest rooms – Before each cruise departure·
- Public spaces – Lobbies, restrooms, open deck areas, restaurants, public sitting areas, etc., will all be disinfected before each cruise departure and then regularly during each cruise.· Crew quarters – To help the crew stay healthy, their environments will be cleaned and sanitized often. · Medical clinic and other wellness areas – Will be frequently sanitized As part of the multi-layered approach, new pre-trip protocols for guests include a pre-departure questionnaire, and a request to wear masks when traveling to and from the ships. Each guest will receive a health screening prior to embarkation. Staggered arrival and departure times at check-in and disembarkation in ports will reinforce proper social distancing between guests. Once on board, guests will find personalized service by dining staff in all venues, expanded dining times and seating arranged to provide more space between diners. The popular outdoor, top-deck BBQ will still be held with crew on hand to serve guests. Additional al fresco restaurants and complimentary room service (main restaurant dinner menu available via room service) increase dining options for all. Main dining venues will operate at 65 percent capacity, while specialty venues will operate at 60 percent. Crew, who will also be COVID-19 (PCR) tested before joining their assignment, will wear masks and instead of the usual embrace or handshake, look for the new “Windstar Wave” hand signal – a W made with one’s index fingers and thumbs. Temperature measurements will be required twice daily for crew. Safety standards established on board will carry over to shore-side experiences. Tenders, motor coaches and smaller boats will operate at 50 percent capacity and will be cleaned between each use. Windstar will also expand medical staff on board, as well as increase crew training in cleaning practices, social distancing, and emergency response protocols. As more becomes known about the COVID-19 virus, Windstar’s policies will evolve. Information will be shared with crew and training ongoing.
- Pre-departure health questionnaire
- Wear masks during travel to ship
- Health screening at terminal prior to embarkation
- Staggered arrivals and embarkation
- HEPA filters and UV-C light are a double whammy to clean the air of microbes on board ships
- Electrostatic sprayers sanitize spaces and surfaces with a powerful, EPA-approved, hospital-grade sanitizing solution
- Increase frequency of cleaning public spaces and high-touch points
- Dining venues operate at reduced capacity with tables spaced apart
- Additional medical staff on board
- Crew wear masks
- Daily health screening for crew
- Tenders, motor coaches and smaller boats will operate at 50 percent capacity and will be cleaned between each use
- Shore excursions to operate at reduced capacity; request masks be worn
- Staggered arrivals and departures in ports