A Preview of Cruising’s New Protocols

This morning, the Royal Caribbean Group (Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara, Silversea, Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, and TUI Cruises), working in conjunction with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd. (Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises) released their “Healthy Return to Sailing” plan and submitted it to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

It is important to note that procedures in this plan may change or evolve before a return to service, and the actual date the cruises return is also subject to revision. Here is the full release sent out today:

With each day that passes, the cruise industry gets one step closer to welcoming you back on the high seas. And today, we’re making a leap! The recommendations of the Healthy Sail Panel have been submitted to the CDC, in response to a request for public comment on the CDC’s current No Sail Order. The Healthy Sail Panel, formed in June, consists of globally recognized experts experienced in various disciplines including public health, infectious diseases, biosecurity and marine operations. The Panel has spent the last four months studying how to best protect the health and safety of guests and crew. They’ve made 74 recommendations across five core focus areas that every cruise operator should address to reduce the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships:

  1. Testing, Screening and Exposure Reduction
  2. Sanitation and Ventilation
  3. Response, Contingency Planning and Execution
  4. Destination and Excursion Planning
  5. Mitigating Risks for Crew Members

Among the recommendations are key strategies such as:

  • Taking aggressive measures to prevent COVID-19 from entering a ship through robust education, screening and testing of both crew and guests prior to embarkation
  • Reducing transmission via air management strategies and sanitation practices
  • Implementing detailed plans for addressing positive infection onboard, including contingencies for onboard treatment, isolation and evacuation
  • Closely controlling shore excursions
  • Enhanced protection for crew members

Royal Caribbean Group will use the Panel’s recommendations to inform the development of new, detailed operating protocols, which will be submitted to the CDC and other regulators for review and approval in the next several weeks.

“We understand our responsibility to act aggressively to protect the health and safety of our guests and crew, as well as the communities where we sail, and we asked the Panel to help us learn how to best live up to that responsibility,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “We were inspired by the depth of the Panel’s work and their determination to help us establish the strongest protocols in the travel industry.”
The impressive work of the Healthy Sail Panel is a progressive step to welcoming guests back onboard soon!


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