In efforts to ensure safe journeys at sea in the Covid-19 era, cruise companies have tabled a comprehensive plan that includes heightened health protocols aimed at safeguarding crew, passengers, and communities and limiting the risk of possible coronavirus spread on board.
Under the guidance of a team of medical and science experts dubbed the “Healthy Sail Panel” and formed in June by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, cruise companies have submitted this week to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) a 65-page report proposing 74 actions aimed ensuring safe travel.
With emphasis on prevention, the panel identified five areas that must be implemented by cruise companies in the aftermath of Covid-19:
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.
Other key recommendations include:
– taking aggressive measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering a ship through education, screening and testing of both crew and guests prior to embarkation,
– limiting transmission via air management strategies and enhanced sanitation practices,
– implementing plans to address cases of positive infection on board, including contingencies for onboard treatment, isolation and rapid evacuation and repatriation,
– heightened control of shore excursions,
– enhanced protection for crew members.
The recommendations will need the approval of the CDC.
The Healthy Sail Panel is chaired by Governor Mike Leavitt, former US secretary of health and human services, and Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration.
“This Panel undertook an ambitious, cross-disciplinary, public health examination to develop standards and guidelines that create the highest level of safety in the complex environment of a cruise ship,” said Leavitt.
“The panel’s recommendations are grounded in the best scientific and medical information available and are intended to meaningfully mitigate public health risks to those who sail,” he added.
“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 Royal Caribbean Group.
Fain and Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, said each company will use the recommendations to inform the development of new, detailed operating protocols, which will be submitted to the CDC and other authorities around the globe for review and approval.
To view the full report, press on the following link: