The laboratory will be onboard cruise ship Viking Star which the cruise line says will allow for “unprecedented testing capacity”.
In what it described as an industry first, Viking Cruises said it had been working on the PCR (Polymerase chain reaction) facility for several months. It will allow the company to test all guests and crew members for Covid-19 on board the 930-guest Viking Star.
The testing procedure that will be used is described as a “non-invasive saliva test” and the laboratory will have enough capacity to test every guest and crew member on a daily basis, which the cruise line says “provides flexibility to respond to Covid-19 prevalence levels around the world”.
Matt Grimes, vice president of maritime operations for Viking, said: “We have been working on this for a number of months, and this announcement 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 (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) 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 on-board hygiene protocols, will lead to making Viking ships a safe place to get away to and explore the world.”
Matt Grimes, vice president of maritime operations for Viking
The laboratory will undergo a series of extensive tests when the Viking Star comes to Oslo, Norway, this month, to ensure the procedures and protocols are effective.
Founded in 1997, Viking has eight ocean cruise ships as well as what it says is the most extensive fleet of river cruise vessels. With an operational office in Switzerland, the cruise line provides destination-focused itineraries designed for experienced travellers who have an interest in geography, culture and history.
It’s due to launch new expedition voyages in 2022 as well as cruises on the Mississippi River with its first 386-guest custom vessel Viking Mississippi.
For more information visit www.vikingcruises.co.uk or for group bookings organisers can call 0800 319 66 60. There are benefits available on board selected river sailings.