Healthy Sail Panel provides recommendations to US CDC

Healthy Sail Panel provides recommendations to US CDC
Royal Caribbean Group
Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings will use the recommendations in the development of new operating protocols

The Healthy Sail Panel has submitted its recommendations for a return to safe sailing to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), in response to a request by the organisation for public comment on future guidance.  The panel was formed in June in a partnership between Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

The report includes 74 recommended practices to protect the safety of guests, crew and the communities cruise ships visit. These recommendations include testing, the use of face coverings and enhanced sanitation procedures. The panel is chaired by 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. "We studied the industry's experiences combating the pandemic – and we then incorporated the many lessons learned and advances made by medicine and science over the past six months. 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.”

Five areas of focus for reducing the risk of infection have been identified by the panel. These are testing, screening and exposure reduction; sanitation and ventilation; response, contingency planning and execution; destination and excursion planning, and mitigating risks for crew members. In each of these categories, the panel has created recommended actions to address specific safety concerns.

“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 Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “We were inspired by the depth of the panel’s work and their determination to help us establish the strongest protocols in the travel industry.”

The two companies will now use the panel’s recommendations to inform the development of new operating protocols, which will then be submitted to authorities around the world for review and approval. The panel’s work is also freely available for other organisations to incorporate into their own protocols.

“The Healthy Sail Panel’s recommendations are robust and comprehensive, and they reflect the intense focus the panelists brought to their work,” said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings. “We know that both authorities around the globe and consumers expect cruise lines to provide the safest, healthiest vacations we can, and this work demonstrates our commitment to doing just that.”

The full Healthy Sail panel report can be read either here or here.

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Alex Smith
By Alex Smith
22 September 2020

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