Major milestone in cruise industry response to COVID-19

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced a significant step forward in the cruise industry’s global response to COVID-19, with the adoption of mandatory measures to support cruise operations in the Americas.

The measures involve the core elements of a strong set of health protocols that will be implemented as part of a phased-in, highly controlled resumption of operations in key regions including the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.

In addition to the resumption that has begun under strict protocols in regions including Europe, these latest initiatives will support an initial resumption in the world’s largest cruise market and help guide discussions on resumption in other parts of the world, including Australia and New Zealand.

The core elements have been submitted to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Highlights include:

  • Testing. 100% testing of passengers and crew for COVID-19 prior to embarkation
  • Mask-Wearing. Mandatory wearing of masks by all passengers and crew whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Distancing. Physical distancing in terminals, onboard ships, on private islands and during shore excursions
  • Ventilation. Air management and ventilation strategies to increase fresh air onboard
  • Medical Capability: Risk based response plans tailored for each ship to manage medical needs
  • Shore Excursions: Only permit shore excursions according to the cruise operators’ prescribed protocols.

CLIA Managing Director Australasia Joel Katz welcomed the core elements for the Americas and said they would help inform the development of global measures.

“These initiatives are part of a response that goes far beyond the measures of other industries and involves stringent protocols covering the entire cruise experience, from booking to disembarkation,” Mr Katz said. “The core elements, which are applicable to CLIA member ocean-going cruise ships operating in the Americas, will help inform CLIA’s global policy work, and represent an important milestone to support our ongoing discussions with the Australian and New Zealand governments.”

Informed by leading scientists, medical experts, and health authorities, the core elements are the product of extensive work by CLIA oceangoing cruise lines and their teams of eminent scientific and medical experts. They include recommendations from the Healthy Sail panel established by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, 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.

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