Royal Caribbean Group (RCG) has teamed up with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) to assemble a panel of leading health experts who will oversee the development of enhanced health and safety protocols for cruise lines.
The Healthy Sail Panel is co-chaired by former Utah state governor Mike Leavitt, who also served as secretary of the US Department Health and Human Services; and Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration.
The duo will work alongside top experts in public health, infectious disease, biosecurity, hospitality and maritime operations to develop Covid-19 public health protocols for cruise lines to safely resume operations.
The expert panel has been working for nearly a month and will offer its initial recommendations by the end of August, according to a press release. The cruise lines said in the release that its work will be “open source” and could be freely adopted by any company or industry that would benefit from the group’s scientific and medical insights.
RCG chairman and CEO, Richard Fain, said: “This unprecedented disease requires us to develop unprecedented standards in health and safety. Bringing aboard these respected experts to guide us forward demonstrates our commitment to protecting our guests, our crews and the communities we visit.”
NCLH president and CEO, Frank Del Rio, added: “We compete for the vacationing consumer’s business every day, but we never compete on health and safety standards. While the cruise industry has always had rigorous health standards, the unique challenges posed by Covid-19 provide an opportunity to raise the bar even higher.”
Fain and Del Rio said they initiated the panel to assure the plans they will submit to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other regulators apply the best available public health, science and engineering insights. The work of the panel will be shared with the entire industry and regulators.