The accreditation recognises enhanced safety procedures to prevent infectious diseases onboard cruise ships, including COVID-19, norovirus and common flu.
‘This important step removes one of the last barriers to a safe return for cruising,’ said Nick Stace, ceo, Saga Travel. ‘Being the first cruise operator to achieve Lloyd’s Register’s Shield+ accreditation is testament to the work done by all our Saga colleagues and brings us one step closer to welcoming our guests back onboard our ships in the safest capacity possible.
‘We have been working with the government, all the relevant authorities and our peers in the cruise industry to put in place all the measures needed to ensure a safe return to cruising.’
Stace went on to add that ‘there is considerable pent up demand’ for Saga cruises, with ‘more than 80% of guests immediately rolling their booking over to a new cruise’ following the company's recent round of cancellations.
Standards based on scientific advice
The safety accreditation is assessed against six categories – medical, policy, food, ventilation, accommodation and water – and has taken months of planning from Saga to obtain.
‘Our new standards are based on medical science from the global health industry, including guidance from the World Health Organization (WHO) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in line with the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA),’ commented Joep Bollerman, global passenger ship manager, Lloyd’s Register.
‘Shield+ provides a detailed survey and inspection regime of the key areas where health risks are elevated, which helps operators like Saga maintain the highest health standards at sea.'
The accreditation also demonstrates that Saga exceeds the compliance criteria in every category set out by the UK Chamber of Shipping in its guidance for COVID Secure Cruising.
Two newest vessels
Spirit of Adventure’s inaugural cruise is scheduled for May 2021; Spirit of Discovery will embark on its South America sailings early next year.