Virgin Voyages unveiled the Voyage Well health plan, in preparation for the launch of Scarlet Lady, whose debut was postponed until October.
The Voyage Well program was created in partnership with Virgin’s new Voyage Well Expert Advisory Group, which his helping to create protocols and health screenings and implement new onboard technologies to work toward ensuring the health safety of its passengers and crew.
“The health and wellbeing of our [guests] is our number one priority, so we rolled up our sleeves with leading expert to further innovate and create an even healthier way to travel and still have an incredible vacation,” said Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin. “We appreciate some people will be apprehensive about traveling, so we are committed to being led by science and creating ways to give people confidence to explore the world while feeling safer, more relaxed and free to enjoy themselves.”
The advisory group includes AtmosAir Solutions; EcoLab; Dr. Bill Heymann of VIKAND, a medical service solutions company; and Global Public Health Services.
Virgin Voyages said its goal is to work with medical testing developers to find a “reliable, quick and simple test” to “ensure only those who test negative for COVID-19 are allowed to board.”
Through “ethical contact tracing and health tracking app,” the line will notify passengers 14 days after disembarkation if they may have made contact with anyone who tested positive for the virus onboard or on land.
Following CDC guidelines and working with the advisory group, Virgin Voyages plans to institute pre-boarding health checks and screenings for guests and crew; and install thermal camera technology in cruise terminals and aboard ships to monitor temperatures.
Virgin plans to take advantage of such cleaning tools as fogging and UV technology akin to Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation methods used in hospitals and laboratories. All luggage will be fogged down and all staterooms fogged prior to guests boarding the ships.
The line will also place sanitizing dispensers in every public space, use touchless faucets, increase hygiene signage, and leverage hospital grade, EPA registered disinfectants from advisory group member EcoLab.
With the help of Ecolab, Virgin will identify and then disinfect high touchpoints throughout cabins, public spaces, restaurants and recreational areas.
Rather than recycling air, the line will provide 100 percent fresh air in cabins, suites and public spaces.
It will also install an air purification system from advisory group member AtmosAir Solutions to disinfect air aboard the ships.
On the social distancing front, ship capacity will be reduced, and limits will be placed on large groups and food-and-beverage venues.
ShipEats, Virgin’s onboard delivery food service, will offer contactless drop-off and pick up.
The line will also capitalize on its digital onboard amenities, including The Band, for contactless payment; Service Chat for digital assistance; and Virtual Queues for onboard events and experiences without physically forming lines.
“For masks, we follow the same guidance as is recommended on land — so if people are advised to wear masks there, we will do so at sea, as well,” the company said.
The company has also moved final payment dates to 60 days from 120 days prior to departure, enabling guests to cancel up to 48 hours before they sail. Travelers can take advantage of future voyage credits of 100 percent for sailing through Dec. 16, 2020.
Virgin Voyages recently floated its second ship, Valiant Lady, which is scheduled to make its debut in May 2021.
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