The Cruise Lines International Association, of which Disney Cruise Line is a member, announced a set of health protocols that they plan to put in place once the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) lifts their “no-sail” order on cruises in the United States. The plan includes mandatory testing of passengers and crew, masks, and physical distancing.
CLIA represents 95% of the cruise industry. Its member cruise lines, which had been working on their individual plans, came together to create this new plan.
Guided by world-class experts in medicine and science, CLIA and its ocean-going cruise line members have outlined a pathway to support a phased-in, highly-controlled return to passenger service in the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America with protocols that promote the health and safety of passengers, crew and the communities visited. The core elements mirror the successful resumption of cruising in other parts of the world and include 100% testing of passengers and crew prior to boarding — a travel industry first. Initial cruises would sail on modified itineraries under stringent protocols that encompass the entirety of the cruise experience, from booking to debarkation. With support and approval of regulators and destinations, cruises could feasibly begin during the remainder of 2020.
Highlights of the CLIA plan are:
- 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 island and during shore excursions
- Ventilation – Air management and ventilation strategies in 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
CLIA says that the new plan will be mandatory for all ships subject to the rules of the CDC and would require verification from each company’s CEO.
Kelly Craighead, President and CEO of CLIA, said of the plan:
We recognize the devastating impact that this pandemic, and the subsequent suspension of cruise operations, has had on economies throughout the world, including the nearly half a million members of the wider cruise community and small businesses in the Americas who depend on this vibrant industry for their livelihoods. Based on what we are seeing in Europe, and following months of collaboration with leading public health experts, scientists, and governments, we are confident that these measures will provide a pathway for the return of limited sailings from the U.S. before the end of the year.
While representatives of the CDC were including in discussions with CLIA, there is has been no word as to whether the agency will extend their current no-sail order which expires September 30th. CLIA members have extended their voluntary cancellations until at least November.