Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings have collaborated to produce stronger health and safety standards in response to the global pandemic.
The cruise lines have formed a new group of experts known as the Healthy Sail Panel (HSP), with former US governor Mike Leavitt and former FDA commissioner Dr Scott Gottleib acting as co-chairs.
The panel is asked with collaboratively developing recommendations for cruise lines to bolster their public health response to COVID-19, improve safety and prepare for the safe resumption of operations.
The HSP has been working for nearly a month and will offer its initial recommendations by the end of August. The cruise lines said its work will be “open-source” and could be freely adopted by any company or industry that would benefit from the group’s scientific and medical insights.
Norwegian CEO Frank Del Rio said: “We compete for the vacationing consumer’s business every day, but we never compete on health and safety standards.
“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.”
Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), said health and safety are the highest priority for its member cruise lines.
“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,” Craighead said.
Royal Caribbean and Norwegian said they initiated the panel to assure the plans they will submit to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other regulators apply the best available public health, science and engineering insights. The work of the panel will be shared with the entire industry and regulators.
Featured image source: iStock/Debbie Ann Powell