WHY IT RATES: In order to prepare for welcoming guests back on its ships in a safe and healthy way, Avalon Waterways has created the Avalon Assurance program. —Codie Liermann, Associate Editor
In anticipation of setting sail on the world’s waterways once more, Avalon Waterways has developed a NEW Avalon Assurance program to safeguard the health and happiness of travelers throughout their Avalon river cruise vacation.
“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. “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 river cruise operator’s new Avalon Assurance program currently features seven major categories and protocols that span across guest experience touch-points – all of which are being shared, explored, reviewed and renewed, accordingly. They include:
Avalon has plans to unveil new embarkation procedures that provide travelers a safe start to their journey. Among the company’s planned changes are mandatory health screenings, including touch-free temperature checks and luggage disinfection, prior to onboarding.
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 mixed with fresh, outside air.
New Technology to Ensure Cleanliness.
To further advance Avalon’s new Assurance protocols, the company is also introducing new, top-of-the-line technologies including Electrostatic cleaning systems and UV disinfecting systems.
Touching Hearts, Not Hands.
Avalon’s new assurance protocols will also ensure more risk-free and hands-free services onboard, such as more hand sanitizer stations throughout the ship (including all public areas); replacing buffet and self-serve stations with crew services and hourly disinfection (at a minimum) of all public areas.
Blending Cultural Proximity with Social Distance.
River cruising presents guests an unparalleled opportunity to enjoy the world around them, docking in the heart of destinations. Avalon will continue to deliver this, with more space for social distancing including reducing ship capacity and alternative dining venues as well as providing guests and crew masks for use, as needed or required.
Commitment to the Cleanest Ships.
Avalon has an unwavering commitment to ship cleaning procedures. Some new steps that go above-and-beyond its already stringent policies 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.
Focus on Crew Health & Education.
Ensuring a happy, healthy Avalon crew is also a priority. Standards include required medical screenings and certificates of health, new social distancing in crew living quarters and ongoing training in PPE use and hygiene.
In addition, Avalon Waterways is 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 September 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.”
Avalon Waterways’ Global Health & Safety team 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).
For full details, visit http://www.avalonwaterways.com/avalon-assurance/. Travel advisors can get details at https://agents.globusfamily.com/avalon-assurance/.
SOURCE: Avalon Waterways press release.
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