Time to start Sailing Forward
CLIA announces the steps they will be taking to bring cruising back to the Americas.
As the world continues to address challenges regarding COVID-19, the top priority for the entire cruise community continues to be the health and safety of passengers, crew, and the communities in all destinations.
Sailing had already begun in Europe and other parts of the world, and as can be seen in MSC Grandiosa‘s grand restart in the Mediterranean on 16 August 2020, it was such a success that sister ship MSC Magnifica will soon be joining her on 19 October. The new health and safety protocols implemented by MSC Cruises, combined with the highest standards of the latest sanitation equipment and technology, were highly effective in ensuring both guests and crew had a safe and comfortable voyage.
CLIA hopes that by adopting an equally rigorous approach, they will be able to replicate the same enjoyable experience in the Americas, currently the largest cruise market in the world. Measures have been put in place to support a phased approach to resumption of cruising there. The core elements are the product of extensive work by CLIA oceangoing cruise lines and their renowned teams of science and medical experts, including the recommendations from the Healthy Sail Panel established by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. released today, as well as MSC’s Blue Ribbon group and Carnival Corporation’s collection of outside independent experts.
Currently, cruise ships are under a no-sail order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention through the beginning of October. In order for cruise lines to begin operating again, they must provide a plan to the CDC for approval before scheduling departures. They’re currently waiting on a plan from Disney Cruise Line, the Healthy Sail Panel is already being used by Royal Caribbean International, Norwegian Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, Silversea, and Azamara.
Highlights of the approach include:
100% testing of passengers and crew for COVID-19 prior to embarkation.
Mandatory wearing of masks by all passengers and crew onboard and during excursions whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Physical distancing in terminals, onboard ships, on private islands and during shore excursions.
Air management and ventilation strategies to increase fresh air onboard and, where feasible, using enhanced filters and other technologies to mitigate risk.
- Medical Capability
Risk-based response plans tailored for each ship to manage medical needs, dedicated cabin capacity allocated for isolation and other operational measures, and advance arrangements with private providers for shoreside quarantine, medical facilities, and transportation.
- Shore Excursions
Only permit shore excursions according to the cruise operators’ prescribed protocols, with strict adherence required of all passengers and denial of re-boarding for any passengers that do not comply.
With spacious ships and strict hygiene regulation, cruising remains one of the safest types of holidays. As Gloria Guevara, President and CEO of World Travel & Tourism Council, has said:
Implementing this comprehensive programme, and adopting these enhanced measures, serves to demonstrate the commitment of this industry to uphold the highest standards of health and safety. We are impressed with the level of detail that has gone into the planning process and look forward to seeing the continued progress as cruises resume on a limited basis and phased-in approach.
These new plans, subject to approval by regulators, will be continuously evaluated and adjusted against the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the availability of new prevention, therapeutics, and mitigation measures. Whilst the cruising industry continues to navigate uncharted waters, embracing this new way of sailing means some CLIA member lines, in cooperation with appropriate U.S. ports, could begin limited sailings before the end of the year!