Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, described The Healthy Sail Panel’s recommendations as robust and comprehensive. Picture: Supplied.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd, described The Healthy Sail Panel’s recommendations as robust and comprehensive. Picture: Supplied.

Healthy Sail Panel report lists best practices to protect cruise ship travellers

By Travel Reporter Time of article published Sep 25, 2020

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A panel of globally recognised medical and scientific experts recommend that focusing on prevention and other measures, including the testing of guests and crew members, public health risks associated with the pandemic can be mitigated in a cruise ship environment.

The Healthy Sail Panel submitted its recommendations this week to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

The panel was formed in June by Royal Caribbean Group and comprises of globally recognised experts in medical practice and research, public health, infectious diseases, biosecurity, hospitality and maritime operations specialists.

The Healthy Sail Panel’s 65-plus-page 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 is chaired by Governor Mike Leavitt, the former US Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Dr Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the US Food and Drug Administration.

The Healthy Sail Panel identified 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.

These include 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 category, the Healthy Sail Panel created practical and actionable recommendations to address specific safety concerns.

Among the recommendations were 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 before embarkation, and reducing transmission via air management strategies and enhanced sanitation practices.

Gottlieb said the Healthy Sail Panel spent the last four months studying how to better protect the health and safety of guests and crew aboard cruise ships.

He said the panel’s robust public health recommendations will help inform strategies for a safe resumption of sailing.

Leavitt said the panel studied the industry’s experiences combating the pandemic and incorporated the many lessons learned and advances made by medicine and science over the past six months.

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

Frank Del Rio, the president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, described The Healthy Sail Panel’s recommendations as robust and comprehensive.

“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," said Rio.

The companies will use the panel’s recommendations to inform the development of new, detailed operating protocols.

Read the full report here.

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