CLIA announces core elements for a return to cruising

Following a rigorous planning process and the successful resumption of cruising in Europe and other parts of the world, CLIA and its ocean-going cruise line members have adopted a core set of enhanced health protocols to support a phased approach to resumption of passenger operations in the Americas. 

Cruise Lines International Association – CLIA – and its oceangoing cruise line members are announcing their adoption of a strong set of health protocols that represent core elements for returning to service in the Americas by the end of the year, pending support and approval of regulators and destinations. Resumption of operations in the Americas, the largest cruise market in the world, is a critical next step now that initial sailing has begun effectively with strict protocols in Europe.

Informed by leading scientists, medical experts, and health authorities, 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. Other considerations for adoption of these core elements included the effective protocols developed for the successful sailings in Europe by MSC Cruises, Costa, TUI Cruises, Ponant, Seadream, and others.

The core elements are applicable to CLIA member oceangoing cruise ships subject to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) No Sail Order and 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.

The approach is also being submitted by CLIA on behalf of its members in response to a Request for Information (RFI) issued by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) related to the safe resumption of cruise operations. The approach, subject to approval by regulators, could allow for some CLIA member lines to begin limited sailings before the end of the year, in cooperation with appropriate U.S. ports.

Highlights of the approach include:

  • Testing. 100% testing of passengers and crew for COVID-19 prior to embarkation
  • Mask-Wearing. Mandatory wearing of masks by all passengers and crew onboard and during excursions whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained
  • Distancing. Physical distancing in terminals, onboard ships, on private islands and during shore excursions
  • Ventilation. 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.

As Gloria Guevara from WTTC 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.”

For more information visit CLIA’s COVID-19 Resources Page.

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