Virgin Voyages - Voyage Well
Virgin Voyages' health and safety protocols charting a new wave of health measures
Just like you, we’re craving those quiet, sun-on-our-face moments spent out at sea, and we truly can’t wait to be sailing together soon. But given everything going on in the world, you may be wondering when it’ll be the right time to pack your bags and start traveling again. That’s understandable, and we get that.
So for the last few months, Virgin Voyage has been hard at work creating a way for you to explore the world while feeling more relaxed and free. We got into sea travel with the goal of redefining it, so even though the circumstances have changed, we’re committed to innovating and creating an even safer sailing experience.
Below we've outlined the Voyage Well plan for tackling COVID 19 — from Virgin Voyages' ambitious goals for redefining health measures at sea, to their new industry-leading partnerships with EcoLab and AtmosAir Solutions, they have outlined all the key points for what you can expect before, during, and after your voyage. They will be updating these as the science and technology evolves, and they will continue to keep you posted as they evolve right along with it.
Big Ideas for Mid-Size Ships
Traveling worry-free is what we all really want right now, and everything we’re doing here at Virgin Voyages centers around making sure that’s what you can expect. Ultimately, their goal is to prevent viruses from ever getting on board in the first place — so they have established their Voyage Well Expert Advisory Group to review and guide their decisions. This team is helping Virgin Voyage to develop enhanced protocols and health screenings, implement new technologies on board, and guide their approach to quick and effective COVID-19 testing so that when the technology is available, they will have it. This team is composed of Virgin Voyage partners at AtmosAir, EcoLab, Dr. Heymann at Vikand, Global Public Health Services, and close collaboration with the CDC as well as frequent reviews of WHO best practices and guidelines. Our goals are to:
- Work with medical testing developers, with an ambition to find a reliable, quick and simple test, that will enable us to ensure only those who test negative for COVID-19 are allowed to board.
- Notify Virgin Voyage Sailors and Crew 14 days after leaving the ship (through the use of ethical contact tracing and health tracking app) if you’ve come in contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus on land or at sea.
Virgin Voyage will keep you updated with their progress both by updating the information above, and letting you know through email. As technology and science improve, Virgin Voyage's capabilities will improve as well. Until then, and based on thorough guidelines, they have crafted detailed plans around how to improve all their health and safety standards on board.
Virgin Voyages' Commitment to their Sailors and Crew
Virgin Voyage's biggest priority is keeping you safe and giving you a sense of confidence when you sail with them, so they are putting together their procedures based on the most reliable guidelines out there.
Before Virgin Voyages Sets Sail
- Following recommended CDC guidelines, working closely with the Voyage Well Expert Advisory Group in order to inform and update their processes and procedures in real-time.
- Implementing additional and frequent pre-boarding health checks and screenings for both Virgin Voyage Crew and Sailors.
- Installing Thermal Camera technology in terminals and on board to monitor Virgin Voyage's Crew and Sailors’ temperatures.
- Offering fair and flexible booking policies during this time — from moving the final payment dates to 60 days (from 120 days) before you sail, to allowing you to cancel up to 48 hours before and receive a 100% Future Voyage Credit for sailings through December 16th, 2020.
While Virgin Voyages Sails
During the voyage, Virgin Voyage is implementing best practices around sanitation, physical distancing, limited occupancy, and health checks for everyone on board. But let’s get down to the details of exactly what that will look like:
Virgin Voyages Will Require All Guests and Crew to Be Vaccinated
Virgin Voyages CEO Tom McAlpin said that when the cruise line does start sailing guests, it will do so with a vaccination requirement for all passengers and crew members in place. McAlpin and Virgin believe that access should be an issue for those wanting to cruise and that vaccinations become “important criteria to create a safe environment on our ships.” In fact, McAlpin called the requirement the “crème de la crème” of Virgin’s safety protocol, which, as an adult-only line, will only sail people who will seemingly have access starting in May.
On the Ship - the Clean Scene
- Adopting the use of advanced cleaning tools like fogging and UV technology — the same Ultraviolet Germicidal Irradiation methods used in hospitals and laboratories. Every single piece of luggage and delivery to the ship is fogged down, and all cabins will be fogged prior to Sailors stepping on board, or in the case that you change cabins during the voyage.
- Incorporating the latest hygiene initiatives specifically for COVID-19; sanitizing dispensers in every public space, touchless faucets, increased hygiene signage, and leveraging hospital grade EPA registered disinfectants from EcoLab — all while using best practices to sanitize and disinfect.
- Utilizing Virgin Voyages partnership with Ecolab, identifying specific high touch points across cabins, public spaces, restaurants, and recreational areas that will be disinfected on a frequent basis, so that you don’t have to worry before touching a door handle or elevator button when you’re with Virgin Voyage.
On the Ship - a breath of clean air
- Installing the latest technology from AtmosAir Solutions — an air purification system that disinfects air on board. Leveraging bi-polar Ionization technology, this air purification system has been shown to kill 99.9% of viruses — making Virgin Voyage the first in their industry to treat 100% of the air on board with this technology.
- Virgin Voyage's sea terrace ratio is one of the highest in the industry — allowing plenty of access to (salt-infused) fresh air.
On the Ship - keeping it social (but distant)
- Managing personal space by significantly reducing Virgin Voyage's overall ship capacity for their start-up sailing period — meaning that we can all easily adhere to appropriate social spacing/physical distancing recommendations. Additional measures include limiting large groups at their events through virtual ticketing and keeping empty seats between one another, and leaving tables empty between groups at each eatery.
- Virgin Voyages does not have buffets or large dining rooms; purposely creating smaller eateries to limit large crowds. And there’s no communal food sharing — food is only prepared when it’s ordered and delivered directly to you.
- When using Virgin Voyages' delivery food service on board, ShipEats, they have contactless drop-off and pick up.
- Leveraging Virgin Voyages' already-digital onboard experience to limit contact; The Band (for contactless payment), Service Chat (for assistance digitally) and their Virtual Queues (for getting in lines for onboard experiences without actually getting in physical lines). Frankly, the only lines we like are tan 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.
At Virgin Voyages Destinations
- Managing the arrival and disembarkation times of Sailors and Crew at the port terminals, so that necessary physical distancing is possible.
- For all Virgin Voyage's Shore Things and at The Beach Club at Bimini, they only suggest activities on land that meet the sanitation or physical distancing requirements that they have on the ship.
For Virgin Voyages' Crew
- Routine temperature checks for Virgin Voyage Crew, as well as routine testing for the COVID-19 virus.
- Any Crew members who come into contact with anyone who tests positive for COVID-19 will isolate and take part in additional health checks to stop potential outbreaks.
- Increased Crew uniform cleaning at our laundry facilities with the latest cleaning technology installed; high temperature cleaning that eradicates viruses and harmful bacteria that can live on clothing.
- Required gloves and frequent hand washing for high risk areas of contamination like pre-health check terminal welcome areas, delivery areas, laundry and waste disposal areas.
Caring for Virgin Voyages' collective family
- Basic COVID-19 testing and any cold or flu-like symptom health screenings are free of charge on board. Sailors and Crew have 24/7 access to the fully-equipped private medical health center.
- Virgin Voyage has increased their medical capabilities with additional ventilators, and increased inventories of oxygen capacity and PPE.
- Any of Virgin Voyage's Sailors or Crew who become unwell are routinely isolated in their cabins to protect others, and anyone who has come into close contact with the impacted individuals will do the same.
- Isolated Sailors and Crew will receive care from third-party medical providers on board until they can disembark and receive any additional treatment that may be needed.
- Protecting Virgin Voyage's Crew who look after you through the use of masks and gloves, intense uniform cleaning, and extensive training and education around COVID-19 — from proper cleaning and disinfecting to care for those they look after.
After Virgin Voyages Sails - returning home
Caring for each other extends beyond the time we sail together. In the instance that any of Virgin Voyage's Sailors or Crew become unwell after they return home, they want you to know they have got your back:
- Aiming to set up a post-voyage notification process through which Sailors and Crew can inform Virgin Voyage if becoming unwell within 14 days of leaving the ship (the COVID-19 incubation period).
- Contacting Sailors and/or Crew who may have come in close contact with anyone who became unwell, so you can arrange any necessary follow-ups or care.
Virgin Voyage wants to thank you for the continued support and love they have received from you all. They are so excited to meet you and get out on the open ocean with you soon, and when it’s time, we know we’ll appreciate it more than ever. Please know that as their processes and plans evolve, Virgin Voyage will continue to update their website, as well as keeping you in the loop through email to make sure you’re aware of when those updates come in, and what exactly they are.