Viking has announced the appointment of Dr Raquel Bono as the cruise line’s chief health officer.
A board-certified trauma surgeon and retired Vice Admiral of the United States Navy Medical Corps, Dr Bono most recently led Washington State’s medical and healthcare systems response to the COVID-19 pandemic.
As principal at RCB Consulting, she partnered with Viking earlier this year to help develop and define new protocol enhancements.
In her new role as chief health officer, Viking chairman Torstein Hagen said Dr Bono will be instrumental in the cruise line’s restart of operations, with a focus on public health.
“Dr Bono brings valuable perspective informed by an extraordinary career that has included decorated military service, trauma surgery and health care administration,” Hagen said.
‘Additionally, her work as the head of Washington State’s COVID-19 healthcare response team makes her uniquely qualified to be our chief health officer as we finalise plans for operating cruises safely.
“We are proud to officially welcome Dr Bono to the Viking family, and we will soon be sharing more details about the Viking Health & Safety Program, which we believe is one of the most well-researched and comprehensive COVID-19 prevention and mitigation plans in the travel industry.”
Commenting on her appointment, Dr Bono said: “I am delighted to join the Viking family and am proud of the significant work we have already done together.
“I look forward to continuing to create the safest environment possible for Viking’s guests and crew members, while also contributing to the collective public health efforts to address COVID-19.”
Dr Bono’s appointment follows the news of Viking becoming the first cruise line to complete the installation of a full-scale polymerase chain reaction (PCR) testing laboratory at sea.
The laboratory on board Viking Star has enough capacity for up to daily testing of every crew member and guest, which provides flexibility to respond to COVID-19 prevalence levels around the world.
In the coming months, Viking will complete the installation of PCR laboratories on the remainder of its ocean ships, and will also have a network of shoreside laboratories for its river ships.