US cruise lines commit to safety protocols for resuming sailing

Modern cruise ship visiting the US Virgin Islands

CLIA, an industry body which represents major cruise lines, has unveiled the adoption of a mandatory set of health protocols, as part of a phased resumption of operations in the Americas.

Some of these protocols include testing of all passengers and crew for Covid-19 prior to embarkation, mandatory mask-wearing onboard and during excursions where physical distancing cannot be maintained; as well as air management and ventilation strategies to increase fresh air onboard.

CLIA adopts mandatory safety protocols, including 100 per cent testing for passengers and crew, as it looks to resume operations in the Americas

Also in place are risk-based response plans tailored for each ship to manage medical needs, dedicated cabin capacity allocated for isolation and other operational measures, and advance arrangements with private providers for shoreside quarantine, medical facilities, and transportation.

These core elements will be adopted by all CLIA ocean-going cruise line members. CLIA said in a statement: “Guided by world-class experts in medicine and science, CLIA and its ocean-going cruise line members have outlined a pathway to support a phased-in, highly-controlled return to passenger service in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America with protocols that promote the health and safety of passengers, crew and the communities visited.

“The core elements mirror the successful resumption of cruising in other parts of the world and include 100 per cent testing of passengers and crew prior to boarding — a travel industry first. Initial cruises would sail on modified itineraries under stringent protocols that encompass the entirety of the cruise experience, from booking to debarkation. With support and approval of regulators and destinations, cruises could feasibly begin during the remainder of 2020.”

Informed by leading scientists, medical experts, and health authorities, the core elements are the product of extensive work by CLIA ocean-going cruise lines and their renowned teams of science and medical experts, including the recommendations from the Healthy Sail Panel established by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, as well as MSC’s Blue Ribbon group and Carnival Corporation’s collection of outside independent experts.

Other considerations included the effective protocols developed for the successful sailings in Europe by MSC Cruises, Costa, Tui Cruises, Ponant, Seadream, and others.

These core elements will be continuously evaluated and adjusted against the current state of the Covid-19 pandemic, as well as the availability of new prevention, therapeutics, and mitigation measures.

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