Health and Safety Protocols
Your Health Is Our Priority
Travel with Confidence
AffordableTours takes your health and well-being very seriously, which is why we partner with operators who have elevated and introduced health and safety protocols to ensure everyone on your trip is safe and remains healthy. We have all adapted to this new world, where it is important for us to take additional hygiene measures. In addition to the measures taken by our partners, we ask that you please take personal responsibility for your well-being as well. This begins with packing any necessary equipment such as santizers, masks, or anything else you require. Please be sure to follow physical distancing and hygiene practices while you are on your trip and follow all health instructions from our travel partners. Let's help keep each other safe and healthy. See below each of our partner's plans to keep you safe on your trip:
Whether you are a loyal past guest or are considering river cruising with us for the first time, we thank you for entrusting AmaWaterways with your future river cruise plans. Here are some of the measures we are taking to protect our guests on board and ashore:
- Prior to boarding, an online health and contact screening questionnaire will be required.
- At embarkation, guests’ temperatures will be taken with no-contact infrared thermometers. If, for any reason, further testing is required, shoreside medical treatment centers are within close proximity.
- Your luggage handles will be sanitized before delivery to your stateroom.
- Protocols continue to change; however, at this time, guests are required to wear face coverings when moving through public spaces.
- We will have ample hand sanitizers available throughout the ship and their frequent use is required by all guests and crew.
- Our crew has implemented enhanced cleaning and disinfecting measures throughout the ship.
- We use state-of-the-art fan coil air conditioning units; there is no recirculating of air on board our ships.
- There will be limitations to the number of guests allowed to sail with us.
- Safety and social distancing will be enhanced throughout our dining room.
- You will still get plenty of fresh air and exercise as our bicycles, fitness mats and equipment will be thoroughly sanitized after each use. Use of the Fitness Room is by appointment with cleaning time between use. Throughout Europe and Asia, we provide a variety of onboard wellness activities led by professionally trained Wellness Hosts. Whenever weather permits, these small-group classes will be held on our spacious open-air Sun Decks.
- Non-essential visitors are not permitted on board.
- Your personal portable Quietvox commentary systems will allow you to hear guides while social distancing.
- Shore excursions will be conducted in small groups. Guests must use hand sanitizers when getting on and off our coaches that are thoroughly cleaned each morning.
- In the event that ships are docked side by side, guests will be required to pass over Sun Decks.
Today's world has changed, but what remains certain is Avalon Waterways' commitment to guest safety, comfort and peace-of-mind while traveling with us. To that end, Avalon Waterways has established a worldwide Assurance program, with enhanced on-trip protocols and procedures, to ensure the health – and happiness – of guests throughout their travels with us.
It all starts with Avalon Waterways' Global Health & Safety Team, dedicated to ensuring that cleanliness of all operations exceeds today’s travel standards—from start to finish. The following areas address Avalon Waterways' commitment to providing a safe and clean environment for guests.
New embarkation procedures to offer guests a safe start to their journey, including:
- Social distancing throughout embarkation
- Mandatory health screening, including touch-free temperature-check, for all guests and crew
- Luggage disinfection prior to onboarding (with crew wearing gloves and masks)
FRESH AIR, INSIDE AND OUT:
In addition to Avalon Waterways' Open-Air staterooms, the air in the ships is not circulated between staterooms; only within an individual stateroom and mixed with fresh, outside air.
BLENDING CULTURAL PROXIMITY WITH SOCIAL DISTANCE:
New social distancing guidelines for guests throughout their Avalon cruise include:
- Reducing ship capacity as required for more space on board per guest
- Introducing more dining venues for more dining space per person
- Crew wearing masks for the duration of the cruise during any guest interaction
- Providing masks for guests to wear during any event where social proximity could become an issue, including disembarkation for excursions and safety drills
- Adjusting ratio of guides and coaches for excursions, as required
NEW TECHNOLOGY TO ENSURE CLEANLINESS:
- Electrostatic disinfecting systems
- UV disinfecting systems
TOUCHING HEARTS, NOT HANDS:
Reducing risk with hands-free service, including:
- More hand-sanitizing stations throughout the ship
- Required use of hand-sanitizing stations when leaving the ship, returning to the ship and entering dining venues as well as entering each public/common space
- Self-serve stations, including buffets, drinks, specialty coffees and snacks have been replaced with crew service
- All buffets (breakfast and lunch) replaced by a full range of á la carte menu choices
- Hourly (or more frequent) disinfection of all public areas
COMMITMENT TO THE CLEANEST SHIPS:
Enhanced cleaning procedures throughout each ship, including these additional steps that go above-and-beyond Avalon’s already strict procedures:
- Deep disinfection of each stateroom between cruises, including:
- Use of disinfectants and cleaning materials that meet the highest standards
- Soft goods in each stateroom (mattress, sofa, window coverings, chairs, etc.) disinfected between cruises
- Disinfection of all dining areas between meals
- Disinfection of all shared items like umbrellas, bicycles and other Adventure Center items
- Disinfection of all goods prior to loading on the ship
- Ongoing crew training in protective equipment use and hygiene
FOCUS ON CREW HEALTH:
Ensuring a healthy crew, including:
- Medical certificate required prior to start of contract
- Daily temperature checks
- Social distancing in crew living quarters
- Regular health screenings
The world may have changed, however, our commitment to our guests and crew, the guest experience and their health, safety and wellbeing remains our key priority. We are working closely with Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), local and international Government Health agencies, to ensure our protocols exceed the latest regulatory requirements. Our Health & Safety Steering Committee oversees all health and safety policies and training with Emerald Cruises, ensuring you can travel with complete confidence that your wellbeing and safety are taken care of to the highest standard. In addition, we are implementing the most recent insights and technologies, with our Emerald Cruises team dedicated to exceeding the levels of cleanliness required in today’s travel climate.
We are continuously updating our protocols to safeguard both the health, safety and the experience of our valued guests. You will be informed about these important procedures, well in advance of your journey departure, which may include the following information and guidelines:
Medical Evaluation & Test
To ensure all of our guests are safe and well before your journey with us begins, we will require you to complete a pre-departure medical health evaluation. During the phased embarkation process you, and your fellow passengers, will be tested for COVID-19 by a medical specialist. This will allow you to relax with complete peace-of-mind when you board our Star-Ships, in the company of other like-minded travelers.
Our Dedicated Team
Our Captains, Hotel Managers and Cruise Directors, alongside their exceptional teams, will deliver a first-class level of service during your time traveling with us. You can enjoy the same exciting program of on board and on shore experiences, tailored to smaller groups to allow for safe social distancing. The team are readily available to ensure every detail of your journey with us is memorable, for all the right reasons. They will ensure health and safety protocols are followed on a daily basis.
Having the best crew to look after you is at the heart of our core values at Emerald Cruises, and we will go the extra mile to ensure our crew is healthy in doing so. All crew will be regularly tested for COVID-19 and will have daily temperature and health checks. They will also be trained and regularly briefed on all aspects in preventing COVID-19 amongst themselves as well as our guests. They will go beyond the ordinary to make your cruise a truly exceptional experience.
Contact-Free Check In & Check Out
We have adjusted the various touchpoints of your journey, allowing you to check in and check out in a completely contact-free way. Through a phased embarkation you will be able to arrive and depart from your Star-Ship smoothly and with safe social proximity in mind. And, of course, every time you return to your Star-Ship, our crew will be there to greet you with a warm smile.
Briefings & Screenings
Our medical expert will host mandatory briefings and screenings. These events are designed to ensure every member of our guests and crew are healthy, and also offer an opportunity to allay any concerns or ask any questions you may have about our safety protocols.
Enhanced Cleaning Commitment
Our on board crew will be increasing and enhancing our already frequent and high standard cleaning protocols in public areas and suites, leaving surfaces and spaces spotless. Additional care and attention will be paid to high contact zones, such as communal restrooms and dining facilities.
Socially Aware Dining
You can expect the same delightful dining experiences when you travel with us, savoring a choice of dishes inspired by regional cuisine and local produce. We are adapting and redesigning our on board food and beverage service to ensure extra care is taken in order to minimize social contact. We will serve our delicious food a la carte or via served buffets.
The spacious surrounds of our ships in combination with the guest numbers provide ample room for you to relax, allowing for an abundance of personal space. We are introducing contact-free movement across our Star-Ships to further reduce risks. Contact-free hand sanitizer dispensers will be readily available in all public spaces and guest corridors on board, whilst automated doors and contact-free guest servicing will minimize the number of touchpoints.
Our Star-Ships are equipped with air circulation systems. These systems ensure there is no re-circulation of inside air on board the ship. When you are relaxing in your suite you will be breathing air from outside the ship that is channeled directly to your suite. The air will also be released from your suite directly to the outside.
Smaller Groups & Social Proximity
Discovering the local culture of your destination is the highlight of every river cruise. Create memories to cherish during our choice of on shore excursions. You will travel in smaller groups, allowing for a more intimate travel experience, whilst respecting social proximity and destination specific regulations. To enhance your sightseeing, you can utilize our digital headsets, which will act as your personal tour guide and travel map.
Carefully Selected Local Partners
As well as enhancing our health and safety protocols on board and with our crew, we’re working closely with our local partners. We have forged long-standing relationships with our local partners, all of whom have been carefully selected for their expertise and high levels of service, and are committed to ensuring your safety. They will receive extensive training to adhere with our enhanced protocols. We will also introduce strict control and screening procedures for anyone boarding our Star-Ships.
Wellness Throughout Your Journey
Your wellbeing is our number one priority, both during your time on board and on shore. Journey to and from your destination with complete peace-of-mind. All transport vehicles will be equipped with hand sanitizer and will undergo deep cleaning after every journey, surpassing the high industry standards required. You can also rest assured that we will monitor social proximity, allowing you to travel safely, with plenty of personal space.
We are committed to continually reviewing and updating our protocols and guidelines as new information becomes available, to ensure that our guests can travel safely in the many destinations we operate in.
At Gate 1 we take your safety and security very seriously. We have a strong network of tour managers, local offices, ground operators and colleagues which help us stay informed in all the destinations that we operate. We closely monitor local situations which enable us to make the operational decisions necessary to keep our tours running safely. Millions of people travel the world each year and experience enjoyable and safe trips but crimes against people and property are sadly a fact of life. It is very important to be aware of your surroundings and avoid drawing attention to yourself. Please remember that you have the same responsibility for your personal safety and possessions as you do at home. It is essential to prepare for a safe and healthy travel abroad. Therefore before you travel, we strongly recommend that you visit the website of the US Department of State at https://travel.state.gov/content/travel.html for up-to-date travel advice on the countries that you are visiting. The website provides useful information on subjects such as safety and security information, health precautions and medications, health insurance and additional tips for traveling abroad. If you do not reside in the United States, we recommend you check your government's travel advisory website for any country you will be visiting. We recommend that you review the safety guidance that may be provided by us, our agents or suppliers, either before you go or when you arrive in your destination. You can also find helpful tips on our website in the "Trip Preparation" tab of each of our tour packages. We do know that in-spite of careful planning, things can sometimes still go wrong, so rest assured, we will be there to help and support you.
Everyone knows that the pandemic has impacted travel plans in recent months, but it’s now encouraging to see signs of recovery as countries re-open their borders and aircraft take to the skies. We can’t wait to start travelling again and we hope you’re looking forward to your forthcoming vacation more than ever.
We rigorously follow the guidance issued by the US Department of State and the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. You can access the very latest information via the State Department and CDC.
Health and Medication Advice
- Please ensure that all medication is packed with your hand luggage and take adequate supplies for the length of your trip. Please check with your airline first to ensure you are compliant with current airport security regulations with regards to medication.
- Whilst the travelling schedule on our holidays shall impose no problems for people of any age in normal physical health, we should like to point out that we visit many historical sites and often enjoy walking tours of various places of interest. Some holidays, therefore, may not be suitable for clients of greatly impaired mobility. If you have greatly impaired mobility then please contact us for further advice or click here to read more.
- We would request that you bring the name, address and telephone number of your Primary Care Physician as this is usually required by insurance companies if you become ill.
- If you have a physical disability or are undergoing medical treatment that may affect your ability to do the tour, and which you have not already informed us about, you must let us know in writing now. We will be able to advise you if the ship is equipped to meet your needs. If you do not inform us, the ship’s Captain may refuse passage or your travel insurance may become invalid.
- No immunizations are required to travel to European destinations.
- You may wish to take a basic first aid kit with you.
- Take high-factor sunscreen, a hat and insect repellent if you are travelling in the summer.
- Deep Vein Thrombosis (DVT): sitting immobile for long periods of time in aircraft, trains or coaches may increase the risk of DVT. Recent major surgery or hip/knee replacement can also increase DVT risk. Drink plenty of water, avoid alcohol, move your ankles and toes and get up and walk around regularly. For more information, see your physician.
- It is also advisable to take copies of any regular prescriptions you may take.
- If you have any concerns about your health while on the cruise please see your tour manager. They will be able to advise you about pharmacies, drug stores and the availability of doctors.
- There will be occasions when the tour manager isn’t immediately available and in this case the ship crew should be able to help. In an emergency you could always phone our emergency number as issued on your itinerary.
Traveling with Peace of Mind
Our commitment never wavers – to earn your trust by always doing the right thing. As we explore the world together again, this will be more important than ever as we adapt to living and traveling in the presence of COVID-19.
Tauck is 95-years young this year, and our ability to weather many storms over the decades is a result of our values and beliefs – as a family and as a family-owned and led company. In addition to the guiding light of these values, our extensive experience, local knowledge and global support network help to ensure your safety on every Tauck journey. Building upon our bedrock of award-winning guest care, we have worked tirelessly to prepare for your return following the COVID-19 hiatus in travel. With guidance from leading experts, including the CDC and WHO, together with our internal Global Response Team and, most importantly, with feedback from thousands of our guests, we have redefined how we will conduct our experiences as we resume travel.
Tauck is Prepared for the Unexpected
For decades, Tauck has operated in over 70 countries in all 7 continents. Over this time, our staff and network of supplier partners have always been there to support our guests and team on the road. Our guests travel with a comprehensive, built-in support system that starts with the care and local knowledge of our Tauck Directors and extends to our network of partners around the world, including hoteliers and transportation companies.
At the core of our ability to quickly and effectively respond to the unexpected is our Global Response Team - a group of over 50 employees across all departments who stand ready to spring into action around the world. This team has plenty of experience, from weather events, high and low water on rivers, earthquakes, volcanic ash, civil unrest and work stoppages. They have also dealt with past virus outbreaks including the SARS and Zika viruses.
The Tauck Travel Well Pledge
Before we operate tours and cruises, all Tauck employees, our supplier partners and our guests will take Tauck’s Travel Well Pledge.
As a company, we will follow our enhanced protocols with diligence and rigor; review them frequently as the landscape changes and always make common-sense decisions grounded in purpose and pride. We embrace these new and necessary measures to combat COVID-19 and will do our very best to provide the Tauck care we have been honored to deliver for 95 years.
OUR NEW HEALTH & SAFETY PROTOCOLS
Consistent with our commitment to the well-being of our guests, we are implementing enhanced health and safety protocols. These protocols may vary by geographic regions and will certainly evolve over time, as science and society respond to new realities:
Prior to interacting with guests, each member of Tauck’s field staff is trained in enhanced protocols and participates in a personal health screening.
Once on tour, our Tauck Directors and supporting staff are responsible for maintaining these protocols with a special focus on cleanliness and physical distancing. They will relay critical information regarding requirements, advise when protocols are mandatory – such as wearing a face covering in group settings – and help facilitate guest care through communication with appropriate parties should a guest become ill on tour. All Tauck staff will adhere to the same requirements.
When joining a Tauck journey, every guest is responsible for their own health and, in turn, the protection of their fellow travelers, the Tauck staff, our suppliers and the places we visit. Guests will pledge to follow the direction of the Tauck staff and adhere to health and safety protocols.
Guests are expected to wear face coverings in all group settings, to wash their hands frequently and to adhere to supplier and government regulations. While supplies of face coverings, gloves, and hand sanitizer will be available, guests are asked to bring such personal items for their own comfort.
Small is BIG
For many years, Tauck has emphasized and invested in more choices of activities, resulting in smaller groups for activities like sightseeing and events. This is consistent with our mantra that “Small is Big” – small groups and smaller ships with fewer guests.
We initially focused on these elements to improve the guest experience. Yet today they take on an additional dimension; small group experiences and more personal space are critical in providing the peace of mind our guests expect. Accordingly, we are offering even more small group experiences and limiting guest numbers across all of our journeys.
We have been working diligently with our partners to be prepared to welcome you back when the time is right.
Tauck has worked meticulously with our global supplier partners to plan for every itinerary following the hiatus in travel. All partners, whether they be a hotel, museum, small ship/riverboat, restaurant or other partner, have been thoughtful about how to provide a Tauck experience in this environment.
And while it's impossible to list all of the enhanced health and safety protocols for the hundreds of Tauck partners across the globe, we would like to share a representative sample of what you can expect:
Our hotel partners all have world-class health and safety protocols. However, these guidelines may vary depending on local situations and regulations. Here are some typical examples:
- Upon-arrival, health questionnaires and temperature checks may be required. Some hotels may even require daily temperature scans.
- Social distancing may be required in public areas, bars and restaurants.
- High-touch areas such as railings, door handles and elevators will undergo enhanced cleaning.
- In-room measures may include removal of tent cards and magazines. Common use items, such as coffee makers and minibar amenities may be on demand.
- High-touch areas, such as light switches, thermostats, remote controls and door handles will be subject to enhanced and frequent cleaning.
- Guests will have the option to determine housekeeping frequency.
- All hotel staff will undergo daily health screenings.
Ships and Riverboats
We have worked closely with our cruise partners to ensure the best possible health and safety protocols and to ensure the care and service you expect from Tauck:
- Guests on cruises and river journeys will be required to complete a health questionnaire and will undergo a temperature check prior to boarding. In some instances, our ship partners will conduct daily temperature checks.
- Face coverings and physical distancing will be required in most public spaces for guests and crew alike.
- Meals may be offered at staggered times and self-serve buffets will be eliminated.
- In-cabin measures include removing common use items. Coffee makers, minibar amenities and housekeeping will be on demand at guest discretion.
- Ship staff will undergo daily health screenings.
- All vessels will have medical staff onboard.
Sightseeing and Local Activities
Many of our experiences are exclusive and/or private and that’s important in taking care of you. Whether it be a guided tour, a visit to an iconic museum or private home, a musical performance, or any other special Tauck activities, we are applying the same rigor to health and safety protocols:
- Tauck listening devices will be sanitized thoroughly and frequently.
- Sightseeing is being adjusted to ensure proper physical distancing.
- Admission times at venues may be altered to ensure no crowding.
- Paper tickets, handouts and the like may be eliminated.
Tauck has always been known for a la carte dining; having more freedom to decide when and with whom to dine now has more value than ever. Additionally, our partners whether they be hotels, ships, special venues or restaurants, are raising their already rigorous hygienic standards. Here are some examples:
- Waitstaff will likely be wearing face coverings and gloves.
- Seating will be adjusted to accommodate physical distancing.
- Self-serve buffets will be eliminated. Common use menus will no longer be used unless sanitized.
Keeping on-tour transportation safe is a major focus of our team who has worked with hundreds of partners to ensure continuity in health and safety protocols:
- On motorcoaches and other on-tour ground transportation, such as airport transfers, guest should expect physical distancing and will be required to wear face coverings.
- Prior to each trip, our motorcoaches, vans, airport transfer vehicles and on-tour aircraft will undergo a deep sanitizing process.
- Luggage may also be sanitized at each movement.
- Drivers will wear gloves and face coverings during all guest-facing interactions.
- Drivers will frequently clean handrails, door handles, arm rests, tables, seats, air conditioning/HVAC units, restrooms and overhead storage areas.
Our Supplier Partners are ready for you
Tauck is proud to have worked closely with our partners around the world, many of them for decades, to deliver the quality, comfort and safety you expect. Whether it be hotels and resorts, riverboats and small ships, restaurants, event venues or transportation companies, their meticulous health and safety protocols reflect their leadership and well-earned respect in the travel industry. The following are some select health and safety protocols. We will update these on a regular basis.
In addition to our supplier partners, we have also been actively engaged with global travel organizations to standardize health and safety protocols throughout the travel industry. TourCare is one example:
TourCare are health and sanitation guidelines developed by the tour industry's major global associations: the United States Tour Operators Association (USTOA), The Canadian Association of Tour Operators (CATO) and the European Tourism Association (ETOA). Tauck, and our supplier partners, meet and exceed these guidelines that require members to adhere to the highest standards in the industry.
Uniworld approaches every cruise with that same thorough diligence. Stringent security and sanitation protocols onboard our ships are nothing new to us. They not only remain top priorities but are being escalated as we face the current challenge. As more information is provided from Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) and the World Health Organization (WHO) Uniworld will look to adopt their health and safety recommendations and continue to update for your added peace of mind.
SAFETY & SECURITY PROTOCOLS
- All outside doors and access to the interior of the ships are locked when docked. Only registered guests can access the ship using a key card.
- All guests and luggage are verified against the manifest at check-in.
- Guests have 24/7 access to the front desk.
- Key card scanners with facial recognition are utilized at the gangway.
- Cameras are present at the entrance of the ship and in public areas, and are monitored by the reception staff.
- Trained security staff are posted at the gangway 24 hours a day.
- Ships are patrolled by trained staff 24/7.
- All deliveries are thoroughly inspected before being brought onboard.
HEALTH & SANITATION PROTOCOLS
PLEASE NOTE: While Uniworld believes these protocols to be the appropriate steps in protecting the wellbeing of guests and crew, they will continue to evaluate and make changes if they are deemed to be ineffective or if they negatively impact the wellbeing of guests and crew. Uniworld is actively reviewing additional health and sanitation steps and will add them to these protocols upon approval.
- All guests must complete a health screening prior to embarkation.
- Gloves, face masks and small bottles of hand sanitizer will be readily available for each guest.
- All guests and crew are required to sanitize their hands when entering public spaces, when coming back onboard the ship each day, and before each meal.
- Housekeeping staff disinfect all public area touch points and hot spots throughout the day, including all handrails and door handles.
- Fruits, cookies, chips, nuts, candies or other treats are now served to individual guests by the crew only. These treats are no longer available for self-service.
- Disinfected wipes are available throughout the ship, including at coffee stations and in the public toilets.
- Any onboard payments are processed using a contactless payment method and credit card machines will be wiped after each pin entry.
- All coffee table books, magazines and brochures have been removed from public use. Guests will be able to access these reading materials via their complimentary PressReader app on their mobile devices.
- Crew wash their hands frequently when handling guest luggage. Disembarkation luggage is kept separate from embarkation luggage to avoid cross-contamination.
- All meals are now served by culinary and waitstaff, with no self-service allowed during buffets.
- All restaurant dining now has reserved seating, with guests at the same table, with the same people, each day.
- To limit the total number of guests in a restaurant at a time, they have introduced two seating times for each meal.
- Items that are usually shared, like bread and butter, are now served to each person individually.
- All touch points, like chairs and salt and pepper shakers, are immediately disinfected after each seating.
STATEROOMS & SUITES:
- All staterooms and suites are thoroughly cleaned on a daily basis.
- All air-conditioning filters are cleaned and disinfected on each embarkation day before rooming takes place.
- Umbrellas are now only available in rooms for individual use, with no shared umbrella stands in public areas.
- In-room chocolate candy bowls are replaced at the end/beginning of each cruise.
- All buses are cleaned and wiped with disinfectant before each use.
- Face masks are also available on the buses, in addition to the staterooms.
- Vox boxes are sanitized prior to embarkation and after each excursion.
- All crew receives professional health and hygiene training (HACCP) by an external consultant before each ship begins its sailing season, including training on how to look for symptoms.
- All crew strictly adhere to social distancing requirements.
- All crew undergo regular health screenings and are quarantined immediately if symptoms are present.
- Hand sanitizer is readably available and mandated for use in all crew areas.
- Crew quarters, public and private, are sanitized regularly.
- All crew meals are served, with no self-service allowed.