Viking Cruises has completed the installation of the first COVID-19 PCR laboratory at sea on the Viking Star luxury cruise ship.
COVID-19 Test Laboratory Installed on Cruise Ship
Viking Cruises has announced the completion of the first full-scale PCR laboratory at sea. The new facility onboard the Viking Star cruise ship allows for unprecedented testing capacity for all crew members and guests. The laboratory can do non-invasive saliva tests and enough capacity for everyone onboard daily.
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.
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.”
The facility will undergo a series of extensive trials first to make sure new measures are effective and can keep guests and crew safe during a cruise. From mid-November, the cruise line will be showcasing the laboratory when the Viking Star comes to Oslo, Norway.
The luxury vessel has a guest capacity of 930 which should be manageable. The major cruise lines such as Carnival and Royal Caribbean will need something that can handle thousands of tests daily. When the CDC announced a new framework for the Conditional Sailing Order, the 40-page report did require cruise lines to be able to do testing.
At the moment Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line have already cancelled cruises for the remainder of 2020 which is a sign that cruise lines need more time to safely plan the resumption of operations.
Viking Cruises has currently suspended operations through December 31, 2020.
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