Experts recommend heightened protocols for the healthy return of sailing

Healthy Sail Panel recommends 74 detailed steps to safeguard the health of guests, crew and communities. The Panel was formed in June by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

New recommendations from a panel of globally recognized medical and scientific experts say that by relentlessly focusing on prevention and other measures – including the testing of guests and crew members – public health risks associated with the pandemic can be reduced in a cruise ship environment.

After four months studying how to better protect the health and safety of guests and crew aboard cruise ships, the Healthy Sail Panel submitted its recommendations to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). The recommendations come in response to a CDC request for public comment that will be used to inform future public health guidance and preventative measures relating to travel on cruise ships.

The Healthy Sail Panel’s report includes 74 detailed best practices to protect the public health and safety of guests, crew and the communities where cruise ships call. Recommendations include testing, the use of face coverings, and enhanced sanitation procedures on ships and in terminals.

The Panel was formed in June by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

Each company will use the Panel’s recommendations to inform the development of new, detailed operating protocols, which will be submitted to the CDC and other authorities around the globe for review and approval– an important milestone in the process of resuming sailing around the world. The Panel’s work is open sourced for others to incorporate in their protocols.

The Healthy Sail Panel identified five areas of focus every cruise operator should address to improve health and safety for guests and crew, and reduce the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships:

  1. Testing, Screening and Exposure Reduction
  2. Sanitation and Ventilation
  3. Response, Contingency Planning and Execution
  4. Destination and Excursion Planning
  5. Mitigating Risks for Crew Members

In each category, the Healthy Sail Panel created practical and actionable recommendations to address specific safety concerns. Among the recommendations are key strategies such as:

  • Taking aggressive measures to prevent SARS-CoV-2 from entering a ship through robust education, screening and testing of both crew and guests prior to embarkation
  • Reducing transmission via air management strategies and enhanced sanitation practices
  • Implementing detailed plans to address positive infection on board, including contingencies for onboard treatment, isolation and rapid evacuation and repatriation
  • Closely controlling shore excursions
  • Enhanced protection for crew members

The full Healthy Sail Panel report can be found here: Royal Caribbean Group or Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.

2 comments

    • Hi Kelly, you can find the protocols by clicking on the links at the bottom of the article.

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