The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced mandatory health protocols for the controlled resumption of sailings.
CLIA revealed the core elements of health protocols that would make the resumption of voyages possible. Following the return of cruises in Europe, the next step would be resuming service in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.
With the help of scientists, medical experts and health authorities, the CLIA and its oceangoing cruise line members developed the mandatory health protocols. The Healthy Sail Panel established by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings also assisted in the process.
Highlights of the core elements include testing for every passenger and crew member before departure; mandatory facial coverings; universal social distancing protocols; updated air management and ventilation strategies; risk-based response plans; advance arrangements for shoreside quarantine, medical facilities and transportation; strict rules for shore excursions; and more.
CLIA president Kelly Craighead said, “We recognize the devastating impact that this pandemic, and the subsequent suspension of cruise operations, has had on economies throughout the world, including the nearly half a million members of the wider cruise community and small businesses in the Americas who depend on this vibrant industry for their livelihoods.”
“Based on what we are seeing in Europe, and following months of collaboration with leading public health experts, scientists, and governments, we are confident that these measures will provide a pathway for the return of limited sailings from the U.S. before the end of this year,” Craighead continued.
The CLIA Global Board unanimously voted to adopt all of the listed core elements for an initial restart of limited operations in the Americas and service related to U.S. ports. The protocols will be continuously evaluated and adjusted against the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic.
For cruise lines to be permitted to sail again, each company’s CEO must provide written verification that they will adopt the new protocols. The regulations must still be approved by the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), which must also lift its No Sail Order.
“Our highest responsibility and top priorities are compliance, protecting the environment, and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, our crew members and the communities we visit,” a Carnival Corporation spokesperson said in a statement.
“That ongoing focus is reflected in the core elements of extensive health protocols for a gradual resumption of cruise operations in the Americas submitted today by CLIA, our cruise industry association, to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC),” the statement continued. “The core elements submitted to the CDC incorporate input from Carnival Corporation and our nine cruise line brands, along with our fellow CLIA members.”
Earlier in the day, the panel of Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings officials, dubbed the Healthy Sail Panel, sent recommended guidelines to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on how the coronavirus can be mitigated in a cruise ship environment.