What It’s Like To Cruise With Costa During The Pandemic

Costa Deliziosa

Costa Cruises was back in action on Sept. 6 as the Deliziosa sailed from Trieste on a new week-long program for Italian guests heading to Italian ports.

New health and safety measures meant a new look onboard for the cruise experience as Costa hopes to slowly ramp up operations in Europe this fall and into the winter.

Cruise Industry News was aboard for a firsthand account of what it’s like to cruise during the pandemic onboard the Costa Delizosa.

Check-In and Embarkation

  • Guests check in online prior to arrival, certify that they have no flu-like symptoms or other health issues.
  • Each passenger assigned a specific boarding time.
  • Before boarding, all guests undertake a coronavirus swab test, the results of which take one hour to appear – only guests with negative results allowed to board;
  • All rooms undergo a more frequent and deeper cleaning – a sticker attached to the cabin door shows when the cleaning of each room has been completed;
  • Masks and a list of basic rules (that need to be followed in line with the new protocols) await guests in each room;

Temperature Check

Onboard

  • Masks are mandatory in all group spaces (apart from restaurant and bar tables, sunbeds, and outside decks) unless social distancing is possible;
  • Temperature check stations installed around the ship and are optional to use;
  • A renovated air conditioning system is in place, so that air doesn’t recirculate;
  • Smaller venues have a sign displaying how many people are allowed inside, elevators allow up to four people.
  • Guests’ movement is recorded through scanning their cruise cards at restaurants, bars, theaters, and shops (this helps trace contacts if a positive case is registered onboard), cards are touched by guests only;
  • The use of the Costa Cruises app on mobiles and onboard screens, as well as the use of information kiosks and telephone to reach the reception, ensures there’s no need for paper documents and paying and booking is safe and easy;
  • The reception operates on an appointment basis;
  • Improved health services available, free for anyone who develops flu-like symptoms, or requires additional testing or health checks.

Social Distancing Onboard

Dining and Entertainment

  • Games that require physical contact are not allowed, but new games that rely on technology or can be enjoyed at distance from each other are introduced in their place;
  • No gala evenings or cocktail events, nightclubs are closed;
  • Live music venues and casinos operate normally;
  • Children and teen clubs open as usual;
  • Theater performances allowed but with only part of the seats occupied, solo performances on stage instead of group ones;
  • Restaurants have entrances and exits separated, tables inside moved further apart;
  • Two standard dinner times replaced by a longer “open” time and each cruise card given allocated dinner time (some flexibility is allowed);
  • QR codes on tables instead of physical menus (WI-FI is free to access the menu);
  • No buffet orders, except for ready dishes, all breakfast food arrives at tables;
  • Bar service inside works both as table service and take away, outside as take away only;
  • Shops allow a limited number of people inside at any time, clothes steam cleaned after each try-on;
  • New shopping concierge service allows clothes brought to shops or guests’ rooms upon request;
  • For photography services, room numbers are recorded so that all ready photographs are put together for each guest to prevent guests from looking for their photographs themselves.

Gym and Spa

  • Thalassotherapy area, sauna, and Turkish bath all closed, other spa treatments available;
  • New, hands-free massage treatments ensure no physical contact;
  • Gyms open except for treadmills and exercise bikes, gymgoers asked to sanitize hands and equipment after each use;
  • Outside sports area is available for individual use and for entertainment games, where social distancing can be guaranteed.

Shore Excursion

Excursions

  • New excursions have been added by Costa Cruises for a discounted price of 99 euros for five excursions;
  • Land excursions that are independent of the cruise operator are not allowed;
  • Swab tests must be done by each tourist before every excursion, as well as a temperature check performed before and after the excursion;
  • Headphones are being used to listen to the guide in order to maintain social distancing;
  • Tour guides and bus drivers undergo coronavirus swab tests every morning before work, vehicles sanitized before/after each use, no more than 25 passengers on each bus;
  • Masks mandatory during excursions, the number of people per each excursion group limited;
  • No separation from groups and no visiting of shops and venues that are not pre-approved.

All crew members must undergo preliminary screening before leaving their home country, including two coronavirus swab tests.

When the crew member arrives in Italy, they are then required to undergo a third swab test – only those with negative results are allowed to embark. An additional two-week quarantine is then required onboard.

The health of all crew members is constantly monitored through daily body temperature checks and monthly swab tests to ensure a healthy crew.

 

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