Avalon Waterways has revealed details of its new Avalon Assurance program to safeguard the health of travelers when it is safe to resume operations.
“The world has changed but what remains certain is our steadfast commitment to our guests’ safety, comfort and peace-of-mind,” said Pam Hoffee, managing director of Avalon Waterways in a press release statement. “To that end, we have established a Global Health & Safety team dedicated to ensuring that the cleanliness of all operations exceeds today’s standards from start-to-finish.”
The Avalon Assurance program consists of seven categories that encompass the guest experience. The protocols are being continually reviewed by Avalon Waterways’ Global Health & Safety team, which is made-up of health and safety experts around the world, adhering to—and building upon—the standards set forth by the European Centre for Disease Prevention and Control (ECDC), the Center for Disease Control (CDC), World Health Organization (WHO), Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) and United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA).
The program includes:
1. Welcome Aboard.
Avalon is preparing to unveil new embarkation procedures that will include mandatory health screenings, including touch-free temperature checks and luggage disinfection prior to onboarding.
2. Fresh Air – Inside & Out.
Eighty percent of Avalon Waterways cabins are Panorama Suites, offering guests an open-air experience on each ship. In addition to Avalon’s Open-Air staterooms, the air in its ships is not circulated between staterooms, only within an individual stateroom, and is mixed with fresh, outside air.
3. New Technology to Ensure Cleanliness.
Avalon will be introducing new, top-of-the-line technologies including electrostatic cleaning systems and UV disinfecting systems.
4. Touching Hearts, Not Hands.
The new protocols will ensure more risk-free and hands-free services onboard, such as more hand sanitizer stations throughout the ship; replacing buffet and self-serve stations with crew services; and hourly disinfection (at a minimum) of all public areas.
5. Blending Cultural Proximity with Social Distance.
Avalon will continue to dock in the heart of destinations and allow passengers to experience the world around them, but will create more space for social distancing by reducing ship capacity, offering alternative dining venues, and providing guests and crew with masks for use.
6. Commitment to the Cleanest Ships.
New steps that go above and beyond Avalon’s already stringent cleaning procedures include deep cleaning and disinfection of each stateroom during turnover—including soft goods; disinfection of all dining areas between meals; and disinfection of shared items such as bicycles or umbrellas after each use.
7. Focus on Crew Health & Education.
New standards will include required medical screenings and certificates of health, new social distancing in crew living quarters and ongoing training in PPE use and hygiene.
Avalon Waterways is also reviewing excursion standards and protocols with partners across the globe.
“We will continue to review and update our Assurance initiatives as we make the pivot back to the world’s waterways. We are looking at Sep. 1, 2020 for that,” said Hoffee. “While we place a spotlight on guest safety and well-being, we will also deliver to our travelers a wonderful vacation. An escape that invites them to take part in the joy of discovering new places, new people and new cultures—everything they already expect from an Avalon Waterways vacation.”