A full-scale PCR laboratory with capacity to test all passengers and crew members on a daily basis will debut on the cruise ship Viking Star.
Viking Cruises (www.vikingcruises.co.uk) has announced details of the new on board facility – an industry first – which will be demonstrated when the 930-guest vessel arrives in Oslo later this month. The lab, which is currently undergoing extensive tests to ensure the procedures and protocols that have been designed are fully effective, will be a major step in ensuring the well-being of everyone on board when cruises resume.
PCR (Polymerase Chain Reaction) tests are one of the main methods used to detect COVID-19 through a non-invasive saliva test.
Matt Grimes, Vice President of Maritime Operations for Viking said:
“We have been working on this for a number of months, and today is important as it moves us one step closer to operating cruises again, without compromising the safety of our guests and crew.
Last week the US-based Centers for Disease Control Prevention (CDC) announced a framework for the phased resumption of cruises with requirements to mitigate the COVID-19 risk to passengers and crew and prevent the further spread of coronavirus.”
Mr Grimes continued:
“The recently announced CDC guidelines are clearly aligned with our public health research, and we welcome the agency’s push toward testing, as we believe this is the only way to safely operate. In our view, continuous PCR testing, along with our extensive onboard hygiene protocols, will lead to making Viking ships a safe place to get away to and explore the world.”
Viking Star launched in 2015 as the first ocean vessel operated by the world’s largest river cruise line. In February 2019 Viking took delivery of its sixth ocean ship, Viking Jupiter, making it the largest ‘small ship’ ocean cruise line and it will expand again in early 2021 with the launch of Viking Venus.
Back in March, Viking was the first cruise line to temporarily suspend operations of its river and ocean cruises in the light of the pandemic and all departures are currently cancelled to the end of the year.
Known as the ‘River Cruise Queen’, Jeannine Williamson is an award-winning travel writer, cruise expert and our cruise correspondent, who has clocked up thousands of nautical miles.
Photographs courtesy of Viking Cruises