Cruise lines are finally beginning to make plans for a return, following the chaos caused by the coronavirus pandemic.
Ensuring cruise ships are the safest they can be, two of the biggest cruise corporations in the world are working together to develop a new health and safety strategy.
Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings have collaborated with leading public health experts to create a stringent set of health and safety standards, helping to get the industry back on its feet after coronavirus.
The cruise corporations, both based in the US, have recruited health experts Governor Mike Leavitt (former Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services) and Dr Scott Gottlieb (former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration) to serve as co-chairs of a newly created group of experts called the ‘Healthy Sail Panel’.
Tasked with developing recommendations for cruise lines to follow when it comes to health and safety, the panel will need to improve safety on board and get the ships ready for a safe return to sailings.
The panel has currently been working for nearly a month and is set to feed back its findings to the two cruise giants by the end of August.
Spearheading the way, RCL and NCL said it will work as an ‘open source’ for other lines, allowing the new measures to be freely adopted by any company or industry.
“This unprecedented disease requires us to develop unprecedented standards in health and safety,” said Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group.
“Bringing aboard these respected experts to guide us forward demonstrates our commitment to protecting our guests, our crews and the communities we visit.”
“We compete for the vacationing consumer’s business every day, but we never compete on health and safety standards,” added Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
“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.”
“Health and safety are the highest priority for all CLIA cruise line members as demonstrated by this initiative on the part of two of our largest members,” said Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA).
We commend this and parallel efforts of all of our members, large and small, who are working tirelessly to develop appropriate protocols based on input from health authorities and medical experts in the US and abroad.”
Dr Gottlieb added: “We know that the public health issues that must be addressed are complex, and in some areas, tackling them will require novel approaches.
“Our goal in assembling this team of leading experts was to develop best practices that can improve safety and provide a roadmap for reducing the risks of Covid-19.”
Separate from the collaboration, a new report recently revealed what life might be like on board cruise ships following Covid-19. The report details the health and safety standards ships might be asked to adhere to, giving us a glimpse into the future of cruising.