Viking has completed the installation of the cruise industry's first full-scale PCR (polymerase chain reaction) laboratory at sea for COVID-19 (coronavirus) testing. Now installed on the 930-passenger Viking Star, it will allow the cruise line to conduct PCR testing for all crew members and guests with a non-invasive saliva test.
“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," said Matt Grimes, Viking's vice president of maritime operations, in a press announcement.
"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," he added. "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."
In fact, the new laboratory has enough capacity to handle daily testing of every crew member and guest onboard Viking Star. The line said that will give it the flexibility it needs to respond to any developments in COVID-19 conditions across the globe.
Look for Viking to next perform a series of extensive tests to ensure the health and safety procedures and protocols that it's designed are fully effective. In essence, the line is proceeding with the path to restart that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention set out in its "Conditional Sailing Order" issued late last week.
Viking plans to demonstrate the onboard PCR laboratory, as well as its new design and operating procedures when the Viking Star arrives in Oslo, Norway in mid-November.
This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.