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Royal Caribbean and NCL Holdings partner to develop cruise health & safety standard

Royal Caribbean, cruise, travel

Two of the world’s biggest cruise corporations are collaborating to develop a new health and safety standard, following the suspension of sailings due to the coronavirus (Covid-19) pandemic.

Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings have partnered with leading public health experts to create a stringent set of health and safety standards for the industry.

The cruise corporations, both based in the US, have enlisted health experts Governor Mike Leavitt (former Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services) and Dr Scott Gottlieb (former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration) to serve as co-chairs of a newly created group of experts called the ‘Healthy Sail Panel’.

Tasked with developing recommendations for cruise lines to follow when it comes to health and safety, the panel will need to improve safety on board and get the ships ready for a safe return to sailings.

The panel has been working for nearly a month and will relay its findings to the two cruise companies by the end of August.

RCL and NCL have said they will work as an “open source” for other lines, allowing the new measures to be freely adopted by any company or industry.

Royal Caribbean Group is the parent company of Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises and Azamara, with a 67 per cent share in Silversea, while Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings owns Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises.

Royal Caribbean Group chairman and CEO, Richard Fain, said: “This unprecedented disease requires us to develop unprecedented standards in health and safety

“Bringing aboard these respected experts to guide us forward demonstrates our commitment to protecting our guests, our crews and the communities we visit.”

NCL Holdings president and CEO, Frank Del Rio, added: “We compete for the vacationing consumer’s business every day, but we never compete on health and safety standards.

“While the cruise industry has always had rigorous health standards, the unique challenges posed by Covid-19 provide an opportunity to raise the bar even higher.”

President and CEO of CLIA, Kelly Craighead, said: “Health and safety are the highest priority for all CLIA cruise line members as demonstrated by this initiative on the part of two of our largest members.

“We commend this and parallel efforts of all of our members, large and small, who are working tirelessly to develop appropriate protocols based on input from health authorities and medical experts in the US and abroad.”

A new report has been released by EU Healthy Gateways which details the measures cruise lines might have to adopt when sailing post-Covid-19.

CLIA has since issued a statement reacting to the news.

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