The big three ocean cruise liners have all announced plans to resume at least limited sailings as of August 1, but one company may be poised to pip them at the start line and become the first to get back in the water.
Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line announced May 26 that sailings will resume onboard its Grand Celebration on July 25th, just one day after the Center for Disease Control’s no-sail order expires, assuming that it is not extended.
Bahamas Paradise said that Grand Classica would resume service October 2nd and that in addition, the cruise line’s Cruise & Stay Program, which lets guests extend their stay in the Bahamas for up to four nights at one of the company’s resort partners, will also be available for bookings beginning October 2nd.
Things may look a little different
“As things begin to return to normal after months of quarantine, we can all use a quick getaway. When we return, our onboard experience may look a little different to our guests,” said Oneil Khosa, CEO of Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line. “The wellness of our passengers and crew members remains our top priority, and as such, passengers can expect enhanced sanitization procedures from embarkation to disembarkation so that they can enjoy a relaxing, safe, stress-free getaway. We look forward to welcoming everyone onboard soon!”
Bahamas Paradise is the only cruise line that departs from the port of Palm Beach. The company sails two-night short-cruises from Palm Beach to Grand Bahama Island and Nassau, and back.
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Reduce capacity, no buffet, and servers in full protective gear
The Grand Classica has 10 passenger decks, 658 staterooms and a total capacity of 1,680 guests. However, Bahamas Paradise said it would be reducing capacity as part of its COVID-19 protocols. It said that two-passenger stateroom decks would be closed to reduce crowds onboard the ship and the number of in-use staterooms would be limited to reduce onboard capacity by 40 percent.
The company published an extensive COVID-19 health and safety protocol.
Among the highlights:
- Mandatory touch-free temperature checks and pre-boarding health declarations for all guests
- Online check-in for guests, who will receive designated arrival times at cruise terminal to streamline embarkation and minimize crowds.
- Sanitization of all cabins with hospital-grade disinfectants
- Self-service buffet stations have been suspended; all food and beverage will be served by crew members wearing face masks, hats, aprons, and gloves
- Tables and seating areas will keep guests six feet apart to facilitate social distancing
- Tour buses for excursions will be reduced to 50 percent capacity, sanitized frequently, and tour operators will be trained using guidelines from the World Health Organization (WHO)
- Casino players per table will be restricted to ensure social distancing and slot machines will be positioned to separate players
- Crew will be subject to twice daily temperature checks and all frontline crew are required to wear face masks, and all food service crew serving guests in the buffet are required to wear disposable hats, aprons, masks, and gloves
- Isolated wards available in the medical center for ill guests or those who are concerned that they have been exposed to COVID-19