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In this month’s blog, we’re taking a closer look at the coronavirus protocols of Victory Cruise Lines, which many months ago cancelled all its 2020 sailings and is focused on 2021. The information below is pulled from a letter by John W. Waggoner, CEO, and shows what small ship cruising will look like next year.

The COVID-19 pandemic has thrown the world for a loop, and Victory recognize the impact that it has had on plans for travel. Small ship cruising along with many other experiences that we’ve come to know and love are changing – and that can be stressful.

Victory Cruise Lines is staying current with Centers for Disease Control (CDC), United States Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), United States Coast Guard (USCG) and Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) guidance, mandates and public health advancements. Plans are in place to keep guests, crew and ports of call safe.

Victory has implemented multiple processes to identify and combat the risk of COVID-19 which include new steps in pre-cruise screening, crew screening and boarding processes. Both onboard and ground operations will feature enhanced cleaning procedures.


Communication with guests begins before they have committed or booked their experience on Victory vessels. Health and safety information will be communicated to guests and a pre-cruise screening process has been instituted to determine the health eligibility of those who wish to cruise. In accordance with industry standards, Victory will conduct pre-voyage screenings for the protection of all guests, staff and crew at the designated check-in hotel. Before boarding the vessel, all guests will be required to complete a health and safety questionnaire and bring it with them to check-in.

At guest check-in a medical professional will perform health screenings and answer any guest or crew questions. The medical professional will have the authority to deny boarding to anyone that may pose a health risk. All guests and crew will complete a medical travel screening survey and have their temperatures taken. All forms will be reviewed by a medical representative and a member of shipboard staff. Thermal camera technology may be used to conduct noninvasive temperature checks as a supplement to manual temperature screening. Because of changes in check-in and boarding processes, no guests or crew will be allowed to check-in directly on the vessel. Only those who have completed and passed the medical screening will be allowed to board the vessel. Information will be provided to all guests and crew regarding onboard sanitization and safety procedures.


Victory representatives will greet each visitor at the vessel access point. All procedures will be enforced and will be managed by the Master and a medical representative. One controlled access point will be maintained on the vessel and Victory will require a 24-hour notice for anyone that needs access to the vessel and has not been pre-screened during hotel screening. This includes all guests, crew, visitors and contractors. Onboard medical representative will be used to conduct screening, complete the health and safety survey and provide reports to the Master and each Hotel Director. Also, the vessel will utilize thermometers, supplemented by thermal cameras, to take temperatures of every individual (guest/crew) boarding the vessel.


Monitoring both guests and crew during the cruise for symptoms and ensuring compliance with written policies and procedures is vital to maintaining a safe and healthy environment. Screening during the cruise will be handled through several methods. 

Trained staff will maintain protocols and observe passengers and crew for symptoms. The ship’s captain and medical representative will respond to medical calls, keep records, practice quarantine procedures and utilize shoreside medical facilities for passenger and crew follow-up.

The vessel access point will be monitored when in port, and controlled access to the vessel will be maintained. All passengers and crew will be passively monitored by thermal imaging when returning to the vessel.

Victory vessels will support random manual screening at the primary vessel access point in addition to passive thermal screening. In the event of a confirmed positive case, the vessel will manually screen 100% of all individuals coming and going from the vessel.

If a guest or crewmember has an elevated temperature, he or she will be evaluated by the medical representative before being allowed to board the vessel. Any guest who has an elevated temperature, shows signs or symptoms of illness or that vessel management feels needs to be further assessed will be sent directly to a local medical care partner for evaluation and testing. Any guest or crew that tests positive for any contagious condition will not be allowed to rejoin the vessel.


Victory has instituted new training procedures for all housekeeping and sanitation staff. Increased sanitation of all contact surfaces such as handrails, tables, chairs, desks, work surfaces, door handles, telephones and elevator controls in both front and back of house will be conducted hourly with higher concentrated solutions.


Each Victory vessel carries a certified onboard medical representative to respond to and assist guests with urgent medical care and coordinating shoreside medical assistance as needed. Quarantine procedures are in place for short term separation of potentially ill guests or crew until the next port of call, at which advanced medical care can be accessed. Upon a positive test or elevated response, the Victory response team will determine what additional company resources are required.

Given the nature of Victory’s coastal itineraries, they have the ability to reach shore-based medical facilities very quickly. Victory has established relationships with regional medical treatment facilities in key cities along vessel routes. While in port most days, guests and crew have access to shoreside medical evaluation and treatment if needed. In an emergency, Victory has the ability to quickly transfer passengers and crew to emergency medical services ashore by coordinating pick-up at municipal landings and docking facilities.


Victory will feature new protocols for all motor coach sanitation and safety. A reduced number of guests being transported on each motor coach (targeting 52% of capacity) will allow adequate space between individuals.

Contact Select Waterways to begin planning your next river or small ship cruise. Select Waterways are your river and small ship cruise insiders, specializing in European river cruises, including Danube River cruises, Rhine River cruises, wine cruises, Seine River cruises, as well as China river cruises with Yangtze river cruises, Vietnam river cruises with Mekong River cruises, Russia river cruises with Volga river cruises, Nile river cruises, Africa river cruises and Amazon river cruises. We also offer expedition cruises and small ship cruises throughout the world, with polar cruises such as Arctic cruises and Antarctica cruises among the most popular. Naturally, we have American river cruises with Mississippi River cruises, Ohio River Cruises, Columbia River cruises, Illinois River cruises and Tennessee River cruises. Whether it’s luxury river cruising, premium river cruising, expedition cruising or small ship cruising, we’ve got you covered. Visit our website at www.selectwaterways.com or give us a call at 1-844-SWCRUISE (1-844-792-7847). Be sure to join our Insider Club by clicking here and Like our Facebook page by clicking here.


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