You are using an older browser version. Please use a supported version for the best MSN experience.

Norwegian and Royal Caribbean are teaming up to create COVID-era safety standards after the virus brought cruises to a halt

Business Insider logo Business Insider 7/7/2020 tlevin@businessinsider.com (Tim Levin)
a large ship in a body of water: Royal Caribbean. Thomas Layer/Associated Press © Thomas Layer/Associated Press Royal Caribbean. Thomas Layer/Associated Press
  • Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are teaming up develop and improve safety protocols before restarting operations amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
  • The companies have assembled a panel of experts, called the "Healthy Sail Panel," to develop public-health recommendations for cruise lines. 
  • The panel's conclusions will be shared with regulators and will be available to other companies and industries. 
  • COVID-19 has brought the cruise industry to a standstill, with early outbreaks on ships leading to a no-sail order by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention in March. 
  • Visit Business Insider's homepage for more stories.

Cruise-industry giants Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line have launched a joint task force to develop and improve safety standards amid the COVID-19 pandemic, the companies said Monday. The pandemic has brought the entire industry to a halt, with an eerie CNN headline from late April reading: "Last cruise ship at sea finally reaches port."

The "Healthy Sail Panel," as the group is called, aims to develop public-health recommendations that will enable cruise lines to restart operations while keeping passengers and crew safe from the novel coronavirus. The new panel is co-chaired by Mike Leavitt, who formerly served as the governor of Utah and Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services, and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, who was the Commissioner of the Food and Drug Administration from 2017 to 2019. 

"In convening the Healthy Sail Panel, we sought the participation of a diverse group of leading experts in areas of science and public health that are directly relevant to the considerations listed by the No Sail Order," Leavitt said, referring to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's current restrictions on cruise travel. "We view our work as a profoundly important public-health effort. The health and safety of passengers, crew, and the communities that cruise ships visit will be the principal focus of this project."


Video: Boat Operators Get Fined Over COVID-19 Regulations (CBS Chicago)

UP NEXT
UP NEXT

The experts have been working for close to a month, the cruise lines said, and plan to release their initial recommendations and findings by the end of August. Public-health protocols developed by the task force will be submitted to regulators such as the CDC and will also be available to any company or industry that wishes to adopt them.

"We compete for the vacationing consumer's business every day, but we never compete on health and safety standards," Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, said.

The pandemic has badly hit the travel sector and brought the cruise industry to a standstill. Cruise ships were home to many early clusters of and horror stories about the virus, leading the CDC to issue a no-sail order on March 14. In April, that restriction was extended through July 24, and operators have voluntarily suspended their operations through September 15. 

But things aren't all bad for the industry. As of April, cruise bookings were on the rise for 2021

Read the original article on Business Insider
AdChoices
AdChoices

More from Business Insider

Business Insider
Business Insider
image beaconimage beaconimage beacon