Verifying health and wellbeing standards for Carnival Corporation ships
The cruise market was heavily impacted by the COVID-19 pandemic throughout 2020. As countries closed borders and restricted travel, the cruise industry voluntarily paused its operations. With the approach of summer 2021, ships can sail in line with current guidance. The company has worked closely with relevant global and industry authorities and Government departments on a framework of protocols to protect the health and wellbeing of crew, guests and the communities they visit.
A master agreement for return to cruising
Composed of nine distinct cruise line brands and a fleet of 87 ships that visits more than 700 ports worldwide and carries nearly 13 million passengers annually, Carnival Corporation is the world’s largest leisure travel company. In the spring of 2020, Bureau Veritas first approached Carnival to discuss implementing protective measures, health protection best practices and outbreak management plans onboard. Originally, Bureau Veritas proposed working within the framework of our internally developed Restart Your Business and BIORISK offers.
Carnival responded to Bureau Veritas with a request for external verification of its own Return to Service programme in order to get its ships back into operation. They asked Bureau Veritas to check procedures, practices and standards to ensure they met and exceeded requisite standards and best practices for the markets in which the ships will operate.
Always ready to adapt to meet customer needs, Bureau Veritas signed a master service agreement covering these services for all Carnival brands. The agreement extends beyond onboard procedures and practices; it covers terminal embarkation and debarkation measures, as well as protocols at private destinations.
Bureau Veritas began working with Carnival UK brands, P&O Cruises and Cunard, in February 2021, reviewing procedures, protocols and performance standards. The first audits will begin in June for P&O Cruises Britannia, with Cunard’s Queen Elizabeth, and Princess Cruise Lines’ Regal Princess to follow. Verification should also begin for Carnival’s U.S. operating groups this summer, pending an easing of restrictions from the Center for Disease Control (CDC).
Becoming a partner of choice for Carnival
Thanks to its position within the larger group, Bureau Veritas has unparalleled experience verifying health and safety standards across many industries, including shipping, food and hospitality. As a result, BV Group can utilize multidisciplinary auditors with expertise from a wide variety of relevant disciplines. For clients including Carnival, this means having access to ship-specific health, medical and safety expertise as well as onboard hospitality departments, such as restaurants, shops, entertainment venues, bars, etc.
Beyond our experience, Bureau Veritas’ ability to adapt to rapidly changing circumstances while still providing top-quality services has been key to winning this contract. As the world continues to beat back the COVID-19 health crisis, the cruise industry is still facing evolving guidance. Carnival requires a flexible partner that can react quickly within a rigorous framework, and with whom they could build a partnership based on trust, honesty, dialogue and integrity. They found all these qualities in Bureau Veritas.