Transportation in cruise ground operations - the new normal?
Ramon Hurtado, Global Product & Operations Manager, has been taking part in webinars with Spanish ports, including Santander and Tarragona, to discuss how the cruise industry will return – below he has outlined what transportation for cruise turnarounds and shorex may look like in the future.
In summary it is about increased hygiene measures, cleaning and private transfer options. Its is probably best if we break it down into three key areas:
1. Vehicle Preparation
2. Operation Preparation
3. New Processes
We are already checking our vehicles and working with our transportation partners on new procedures and standards, such as more regular maintenance of ventilation systems and increased frequency of cleaning using anti-viral materials, with a written record documenting each time the vehicle is cleaned. Most buses now come with protective barriers already installed, separating drivers and passengers, but we are considering retrofitting these for those that do not.
To help reduce the number and/or density of people during vehicle dispatch, we may organize staggered departures and where available, utilize larger transportation areas. We are also looking at how we plan seating, including implementing social distancing rules and grouping guests, keeping them together with the same travel companions through pre-assigned seating. For shorex specifically, we are recommending to no longer use physical vouchers, replacing them with a digital version.
At the beginning of every operation, safety briefings will be delivered to all those involved, including guests, drivers, guides and staff. This will help ensure everyone is aligned and that we set the correct service expectations - new hygiene measures may mean a perceived lower quality of service, but if it is considered the safest way to proceed then we will implement these measures and it is important that everyone understands why. Temperature checks and the use of personal protective equipment (PPE), such as masks and gloves, could be introduced for all involved in an operation, depending on local legislation and industry best practice. Queues to board a vehicle will be strictly managed in accordance with social distancing measures and there will be a requirement for everyone to use hand sanitizer before working and/or boarding the vehicle. Where possible, we will use front, side and rear doors, with drivers required to exit the vehicle prior to guests boarding/leaving the vehicle. Our staff will only be able to provide very limited physical assistance and helping guests get on/off the vehicle or loading guest luggage will only be done when necessary and always using gloves.
• Training: We are in the process of developing specific training for our teams on all new standards and processes, including how to assist and interact with guests.
• Private Transfers & Tours: We are ensuring we have the resources to provide more private transfer and tour options, including private cars and minibuses, which will follow many of the same guidelines being implemented for larger vehicles.
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