As cruise lines prepare to resume sailing under protocols calling for extensive COVID-19 testing of passengers and crew, Torstein Hagen’s Viking Cruises said today that it has completed installation of the first full-scale PCR laboratory at sea.
This new onboard facility – claimed as an industry first – enables Viking to conduct PCR testing of all crew members and guests with a non-invasive saliva test.
This first laboratory has been installed on the company’s 930-guest ocean vessel Viking Star; it will undergo a series of extensive tests to ensure the procedures and protocols that have been designed are fully effective.
The laboratory has enough capacity for daily testing of every crew member and guest, which, says Viking, provides flexibility to respond to COVID-19 prevalence levels around the world.
“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. 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,” said Matt Grimes, Vice President of Maritime Operations for Viking.
Viking will be demonstrating the PCR laboratory, as well as new design and operating procedures, when the Viking Star comes to Oslo, Norway in mid-November.