Cruise holidays: Major ferry company issues huge UK travel update for ‘safest’ transport

Stena Line is one of the largest ferry operators in the world. The Swedish company offers ferry services for Denmark, Germany, Ireland, Latvia, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Sweden and the United Kingdom. With many Britons looking to stay in the UK this year and hoping to avoid packed planes, ferry travel could likely be a suitable form of travel.

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As lockdown restrictions ease and hopes that non-essential travel will soon be possible rise, Stena Line has announced new measures to ensure safe ferry travel this summer.

The company is aimed at ensuring ferry travel is the safest form of public transport.

“In advance of the return of sea corridors reopening to tourist travel the company has been finalising extensive new safety measures to combat the spread of COVID-19 and ensure a safe and seamless journey,” Stena Line said in a statement.

The operator claims ferry travel is the only form of public transport where passengers can social distancing easily.

To make this even easier, Stena Line has capped the numbers of passengers on each crossing to guarantee adequate space.

Fresh sea air is also being circulated into the air filtration systems on all ferries.

The company explained: “New fog machines are being used to sanitise communal areas and cabins on the ferries and alongside the continuous cleaning routines being undertaken throughout the ships”.

What’s more, from today, face coverings are also now recommended for all passengers and crew on Stena Line vessels, and in terminals.

This applies to all routes on the Irish Sea and the North Sea, where social distancing is difficult to achieve, such as in stairwells, lifts and in corridors.

“Ferry travel is the only mode of transport where you can social distance, so it is no surprise that we are now seeing an increase in bookings due to the expected reduction in lockdown restrictions,” said Stena Line’s CEO Niclas Mårtensson.

“In advance of the return of international travel we now feel the time is right to tell people about our new anti-COVID-19 measures and reassure them that ferries provide the safest mode of transport for travel passengers and freight drivers.

“The safety of our passengers and crew is always a top priority for Stena Line.”

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Numerous other safety measures have also been introduced to prevent the spread of coronavirus.

At the Terminal

  • All passenger recommended to wear face coverings.
  • All passengers are asked for their health condition when checking in. If any indication of suspected Covid-19, the passenger will be denied boarding.
  • Increased opportunities for hand wash and disinfection placed in terminals.
  • Special cleaning schedules have been implemented, including Increased frequency of preventive cleaning of “Hand Contact Point Hotspots”.
  • Card payment instead of cash announced where possible and employees are allowed to wear gloves.
  • Sales points/cashiers have been equipped with Plexi-Glass protection.
  • Food service has been adjusted to ensure maximum hygiene.

Embarkation and Disembarkation

  • All passenger recommended to wear face coverings.
  • Social distancing is encouraged by floor markings and reminders over the public address system.
  • Staged embarkation and disembarkation are practised where necessary to avoid crowding and maintain social distancing.

 

On Board

  • All passenger recommended to wear face coverings.
  • All ships have individual risk assessments and have reduced their passenger capacity accordingly to allow for social distancing.
  • Fog machines are being used throughout the vessels to sanitise areas.
  • Increased opportunities for hand wash and disinfection placed in public areas on board.
  • Passengers are reminded about hygiene measures through on-board announcements, posters and digital signage.
  • Increased the frequency of preventive cleaning and disinfection of “Hand Contact Point Hotspots” such as door handles, access touchpads, telephones. These are sanitised after each sailing and/or at least three times a day on longer crossings on board.
  • Single-use cabins for customers where possible unless boarded sharing a car or freight unit.
  • Food service has been adjusted to ensure maximum hygiene. Buffet serving has stopped, and we now only offer plate serving and packaged foods.
  • Card payment is encouraged instead of cash and employees are allowed to wear gloves
  • Guest/Crew interaction points have been shielded off with Plexi-glass screens for safety.
  • Certain areas such as Saunas, Kids Playrooms etc have been closed.
  • Ventilation systems are running on 100 percent fresh sea air, no re-circulation
  • Staff are trained and equipped with suitable PPE (Personal Protective Equipment) to prevent infection.
  • Pre-boarding screening of all crew based on self-reporting of symptoms to prevent infection on board. While on board, crew are self-monitoring and any symptoms of COVID-19 leads to isolation and disembarkation of the crewmember as per Company procedure.

Response to suspected COVID-19 on board

Our crew are prepared for any outbreak onboard and the vessels have sufficient space and are equipped for an immediate response, to take the necessary actions required to alleviate the situation,” said Stena Line.

“Below are the key steps to manage a possible Covid-19 situation onboard.

  • Trained crew will respond to any suspected case of Covid-19 equipped with PPE
  • Contingency plans are prepared for safe treatment, isolation and subsequent disembarking of suspected Covid-19 cases in cooperation with local health & port authorities.
  • 3rd Party companies have been contracted to assist with deep cleaning if necessary, after a suspected/confirmed case of Covid-19.”

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