Portsmouth becomes first UK port to welcome back cruise
On Monday 19th October, Portsmouth welcomed the first international cruise call since sailings were suspended, as SeaDream Yacht Club’s vessel, SeaDream 1, stopped to pick up passengers for a transatlantic voyage to the Caribbean.
19 passengers joined the 112-capacity ship, following strict health protocols. These include the use of coronavirus testing 72 hours in advance and immediately before boarding the ship, alongside extensive cleaning and sanitation regimes.
In addition, all crew members are certified for the WHO’s Infection Prevention and Control for novel coronavirus course and Covid-19 Contact tracing course from Johns Hopkins University.
SeaDream 1 had previously called at Oslo and Rotterdam, en route to the UK, part of a 21-day trip to Bridgetown, Barbados.
Since the onset of the pandemic the port has implemented enhanced protocols, this includes a reconfigured terminal layout to maximise social distancing, and a temperature camera to check passengers, staff and crew.
Ian Diaper, Portsmouth International Port’s head of operations said: “It’s testament to everyone’s hard work that SeaDream Yacht Club was confident to use Portsmouth as the first UK port to manage a turnaround call since sailings were suspended.
“It was great to see a cruise ship in the port once more and pleased to see operations go to plan.
“We’re experienced at managing passengers in a Covid secure way, with ferry sailings taking place regularly since July following strict protocols. This had given us insight for what’s required and we’re ready to help the industry recover when cruise returns to its full capacity.”
Operations followed the government’s recent Cruise Framework Agreement and the whole cruise call was overseen by port health and Portsmouth International Port staff. No passengers left the ship, and only 19 guests went on board.
Portsmouth International Port was the UK’s first port to install a thermal imaging camera and to also receive official independent verification for its Covid-19 health measures by international auditors, DNV-GL.