The Future Of Cruising Will Require Masks, Testing, and More, According to Cruise Association Guidelines

The Cruise Lines International Association has 60 members including Carnival and MSC Cruises.

The Cruise Lines International Association, whose members include major cruise lines around the world, said Monday that 100 percent of passengers and crew will be tested for COVID-19 before getting on a ship and masks will be mandatory whenever cruising does eventually resume.

In addition to testing requirements and a mask mandate, physical distancing must be maintained in terminals, on ships, during excursions, and on private islands as part of the group’s “mandatory core elements.”

Shore excursions will only be permitted “according to the cruise operators’ prescribed protocols.”

While these precautions are being implemented to prevent an outbreak of COVID-19 on board, CLIA’s policy also includes “risk based response plans,” including designating isolation cabins and creating protocols to make arrangements in case the need for a shoreside quarantine arises.

The implementation of the protocols is mandatory for ocean-going ships and each member CEO must provide written verification they have been adopted, according to the association. Cruise lines are also able to implement additional measures.

“It’s been a long six months for the cruise industry, but the implementation of industry-wide protocols is an incredibly positive step in the right direction for cruise lines,” Colleen McDaniel, the editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic, told Travel + Leisure on Monday. “Up until now, we’ve seen piecemeal plans from individual lines, but this unified voice shows the full industry’s dedication to not only returning to service but also to doing so safely.”

Last month, CLIA — whose members include Carnival Cruise Line, Disney Cruise Line, Cunard Line, Holland America Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean International, and more — voluntarily agreed cruising wouldn’t resume in the U.S. until at least November.

“We recognize the devastating impact that this pandemic, and the subsequent suspension of cruise operations, has had on economies throughout the world... 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 this year,” CLIA’s president and CEO Kelly Craighead said in a statement.

The association’s recommendations came on the same day Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line submitted recommendations from their Healthy Sail Panel to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. CLIA said that proposal was taken into account as well as protocols that have been proven “effective” as sailings have resumed in Europe.

The CDC’s “No-Sail Order,” originally implemented in March, has been extended until the end of September.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she’s not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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