Costa Cruises has announced that it will be providing rapid antigen tests to passengers as limited cruises resume in the Mediterranean, as well as dedicated insurance packages designed to cover any medical treatment needed as a result of contracting the coronavirus.
Costa is the third big ship cruise line to make rapid covid testing a key part of its health and safety protocols for the resumption of cruises, after Jalesh Cruises in India announced that such tests would be included in the cruise fare, while MSC also conducts anitgen tests prior to boarding.
While not fail-safe, and the source of a number of concerns for potential passengers, the rapid testing provides an extra layer of security in efforts to prevent coronavirus from being brought aboard the ship by asymptomatic passengers and crew.
Already on only its second resumed cruise out of Genoa, MSC Cruises’ antigen test prevented a potentially infected passenger and 14 people in his party from boarding MSC Grandiosa.
The test will be carried out within the wider pre-boarding procedures that have been defined according to the protocols of the health authorities and the Costa Safety Protocol.
The antigenic test will identify any suspicious cases that may be subjected to a PCR nasal swab test for further determination of the presence of coronavirus, if this test is passed, the passenger will be allowed to board.
Costa Cruises is also offering its guests the option to subscribe to a dedicated insurance program, with specific services related to coronavirus, in case they are needed.
In addition to the rapid covid testing, Costa is the first cruise company to earn the Biosafety Trust Certification from RINA, the over 150-year-old testing, inspection, certification and ship classification company that developed the innovative management system certification program.
The certification process, carried out through audits, examines all aspects of life on board and ashore – from the embarkation procedures to hotel services, catering, fitness, relaxation areas and shore excursions – and assesses the compliance of the system with the scheme procedures aimed at the prevention and control of infections.
To obtain certification from RINA, specific training modules for crews were created in strict compliance with the new health protocols and with the associated shipboard management system implemented by Costa.
These training programs reinforce the already strict procedures in place on board Costa’s ships, in the embarkation terminals and during shore excursions, introduced with the Costa Safety Protocol, the new health protocol developed by Costa, with the scientific support of independent experts, in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
Costa Cruises has resumed its sailings aboard two cruise ships within Italian waters only, unlike fellow Italian line MSC Cruises. While MSC is also accepting bookings for all Schengen area residents, Costa has restricted its cruises to Italian resident only as an extra precaution.
The first ship to sail on September 6th will be Costa Deliziosa, which will sail every Sunday until September 27th, offering cruises from Trieste to Bari, Brindisi, Corigliano-Rossano, Siracusa and Catania.
Costa Diadema will follow on September 19th, with a seven-day cruise from Genoa in the Western Mediterranean, to Civitavecchia/Rome, Naples, Palermo, Cagliari and La Spezia.