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.
We’ve 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 our Voyage Well plan for tackling COVID 19 — from our ambitious goals for redefining health measures at sea, to our new industry-leading partnerships with EcoLab and AtmosAir Solutions, we’ve outlined all the key points for what you can expect before, during, and after your voyage. We’ll be updating these as the science and technology evolves, and we’ll continue to keep you posted as we evolve right along with it.
Our goal is to ensure that we're providing the safest travel experience, which means requiring vaccinations for both our Crew and Sailors. Our intention is that all Crew and Sailors are vaccinated since this is aligned with the recommendation from the CDC and UK government for resuming cruise travel. For more information on our COVID-19 vaccine requirements, check out our FAQ.
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, our goal is to prevent viruses from ever getting on board in the first place — so we've established our Voyage Well Expert Advisory Group to review and guide our decisions. This team is helping us to develop enhanced protocols and health screenings, implement new technologies on board, and guide our approach to quick and effective COVID-19 testing so that when the technology is available, we’ll have it. This team is composed of our partners at AtmosAir, EcoLab, Dr. Heymann at Vikand, Global Public Health Services, and close collaboration with the CDC and UK government as well as frequent reviews of WHO best practices and guidelines. Our goals are to:
- Notify our Sailors and Crew up to 14 days after leaving the ship if you've come into contact with anyone who has tested positive for the virus. Ethical contact tracing is enabled via the Sailor App when bluetooth is activated on a Sailor's device.
We’ll keep you updated with our progress both by updating the information above, and letting you know through email. As technology and science improve, our capabilities will improve as well. Until then, and based on thorough guidelines, we’ve crafted detailed plans around how to improve all our health and safety standards on board.
Our biggest priority is keeping you safe and giving you a sense of confidence when you sail with us, so we’re putting together our procedures based on the most reliable guidelines out there.
- Following recommended CDC and UK government guidelines, working closely with the Voyage Well Expert Advisory Group in order to inform and update our processes and procedures in real-time.
- Implementing additional and frequent pre-boarding health checks and screenings for our Crew.
- Monitoring our Crew and Sailor's temperatures through temp checks at each terminal.
- Offering fair and flexible booking policies during this time — new bookings made on or before July 30, 2021, for any sailing in 2021, allow cancellations up to 48 hours before the voyage date to receive 100% Future Voyage Credit.
During the voyage, we’re 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:
- Adopting the use of advanced cleaning tools like fogging; luggage and delivery to the ship will be fogged down, as well as fogging cabins as needed— in addition to sanitizing each cabin between every sail.
- 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 our 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 us.
- 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 us the first in our industry to treat 100% of the air on board with this technology.
- Our sea terrace ratio is one of the highest in the industry — allowing plenty of access to (salt-infused) fresh air.
- Managing personal space by significantly reducing our overall ship capacity for our 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 our events through virtual ticketing and keeping empty seats between one another, and leaving tables empty between groups at each eatery.
- We don’t 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 our delivery food service on board, ShipEats, we have contactless drop-off and pick up.
- Leveraging our already-digital onboard experience to limit contact; The Band (for contactless payment), Service Chat (for assistance digitally) and our 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 in accordance with the CDC and UK government — so if people are advised to wear masks there, we will do so at sea, as well.
- Managing the arrival and disembarkation times of Sailors and Crew at the port terminals, so that necessary physical distancing is possible.
- For all our Shore Things and at The Beach Club at Bimini, we only suggest activities on land that meet the sanitation or physical distancing requirements that we have on the ship.
- Bi-weekly testing for the COVID-19 virus for our Crew.
- 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.
- 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.
- We’ve increased our medical capabilities with additional ventilators, and increased inventories of oxygen capacity and PPE.
- Any of our 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 be notified accordingly.
- 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 our 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 we look after.
Caring for each other extends beyond the time we sail together. In the instance that any of our Sailors or Crew become unwell after we return home, we want you to know we’ve got your back:
- Aiming to set up a post-voyage notification process through which Sailors and Crew can inform us 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.