Royal Caribbean, Norwegian Cruise Line Submit New Health and Safety Recommendations to the CDC

The recommendations include 74 best practices for cruise ships.

Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line submitted a whole new host of health and safety recommendations to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention on Monday, which include testing, ventilation, and contingency planning.

The recommendations, part of the cruise lines’ Healthy Sail Panel, were part of a 65-plus-page report, including 74 best practices. They come as cruising remains suspended in the U.S. even as it has started to resume in Europe and other destinations around the world.

“We understand our responsibility to act aggressively to protect the health and safety of our guests and crew, as well as the communities where we sail, and we asked the Panel to help us learn how to best live up to that responsibility,” Richard D. Fain, the chairman and CEO of the Royal Caribbean Group, said in a statement. “We were inspired by the depth of the Panel’s work and their determination to help us establish the strongest protocols in the travel industry.”

As part of the recommended best practices, the panel — chaired by Gov. Mike Leavitt, the former U.S. Secretary of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration — focused on screening guests and crew for potential COVID-19 infections before embarkation as well as contingency plans if an infection does occur, including onboard treatment and isolation. In addition, the panel also mentioned safety protocols for excursions as well as looking into ventilation and sanitation practices.

Royal Caribbean cruise ship

Colleen McDaniel, the editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic, told Travel + Leisure on Monday that many of the recommendations were already being implemented in Europe, but it was a “big step in the right direction” for U.S. cruising.

“This is the first wide-spread recommendation from the industry for cruises departing from the US, so it’s significant news,” she said. “Until today, we’ve seen protocols revealed on a line-by-line basis from cruise lines that have begun resuming in Europe, but not much information for cruises in the U.S., which are still paused.”

Royal Caribbean has suspended most of its sailings until at least November as has Norwegian Cruise Line, both in line with the recommendation from the Cruise Lines International Association. Those are in addition to the CDC’s “No-Sail Order,” which was originally implemented in March and has since been extended.

Some cruise lines have gone even further, suspending sailings into next year. Carnival Cruise Line canceled cruises until the spring, including on the Carnival Spirit through May 16, while Princess Cruises canceled two of its 2021 itineraries; its World Cruise and its Circle South America cruise.

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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