Viking Cruises completed the installation of the first full-scale COVID-19 PCR laboratory at sea on its Viking Star ship.
The new facility allows for unprecedented testing capacity for all crew and guests. The laboratory is able to do non-invasive saliva tests and has enough capacity for everyone onboard.
Matt Grimes, Vice President of Maritime Operations for Viking Cruises, said:
“We have been working on this for a number of months, and today 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 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 onboard hygiene protocols, will lead to making Viking ships a safe place to get away to and explore the world.”
The lab will undergo a series of extensive trials to make sure that new measures are effective and can keep passengers and crew safe during sailing. From mid-November 2020, Viking will be showcasing the facility when Viking Star sails to Oslo, Norway.
The luxury ship has a passenger capacity of 930 that should be manageable. Major cruise lines including Carnival and Royal Caribbean Cruises will need something that is able to handle thousands of tests daily. When the Centers announced the new framework for the Conditional Sailing Order, the report did require cruise companies to be able to do testing.
Royal Caribbean Group and NCLH-Norwegian have already canceled sailings for the remainder of the year which is a sign that lines need more time to plan the resumption of operations.
Viking Cruises (Ocean+River) are currently suspended through December 31, 2020.