Operating guidelines developed by Valletta Cruise Port, “COVID-19 Cruise Operations Guidelines for a Safe Continuation of Cruising in Valletta,” have been approved by the relevant health authorities.
The guideline document “establishes, embodies and merges” Valletta Cruise Port’s operational plans, procedures and guidelines with cruise line protocols to ascertain the safe continuation of cruising.
Any future calls to Malta must embody the guidelines, according to the port.
“The compilation of these guidelines is based on the results of facility assessments within the context of recent and current regional events brought about by the pandemic”, the port commented in a press release.
Stephen Xuereb, CEO of Valletta Cruise Port and COO of Global Ports Holding stated, “it has been a challenging time for the cruise community, but the industry is clearly inching closer to a restart.”
“After months of discussions with numerous stakeholders we are happy to be sharing these guidelines with the cruise lines and look forward to welcoming cruise ships, their guests and crew to Valletta,” he continued.
The “COVID-19 Cruise Operations Guidelines for a Safe Continuation of Cruising in Valletta,” while approved, as confirmed by the Valletta Cruise Port in a statement, has not been made publicly available at this stage.
In August, Malta welcomed back its first cruise ship, the MSC Grandiosa, since the COVID lockdown.
Health protocols at the time included universal testing for all guests and crew prior to embarkation. Furthermore, guests were not allowed to go ashore independently, instead only going on protected excursions.
Under the cruise liners’ protocols, prior to embarkation, all guest had to go through universal health screening, including three comprehensive steps – a temperature check, a health questionnaire, and a COVID antigen swab test.
In the press release, Valletta Cruise Port also said that, as part of Global Ports Holdings (GPH), it began preparing for the post-COVID cruising world way back in January 2020, when COVID first emerged.
“The actions taken were to revise the Emergency Response Plans and the Health and Safety Protocols for all of the 19 ports forming part of the GPH network, inclusive of Valletta Cruise Port,” the port detailed.
In addition, Valletta Cruise Port obtained the Safe Travels stamp from the World Travel and Tourism Council, based on the reinforced protocols.
This process meant that Valletta Cruise Port was well prepared to welcome back the first cruise calls last August, with cruise calls ongoing weekly since then, it said.
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