Cruise lines may compete on many levels, but health and safety are common goals that throw all competition overboard. To get all those beautiful ships sailing again, cruise lines need to collaborate just as Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. (NCLH) and Royal Caribbean Group have done.
Over the past month, they have created a ‘Healthy Sail Panel’ comprised of a group of experts to guide them through this unprecedented time. By doing this, they have taken the advice of Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) which has said “In engaging health experts and exploring new concepts, the cruise industry can enhance already stringent public health protocols and policies – emerging from this global crisis stronger than ever before.” The health experts selected to co-chair the panel are Governor Leavitt and Dr. Scott Gottlieb. Governor Leavitt is the former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) and Dr. Gottlieb is the former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA). Other panel members include experts from various fields affecting the industry, such as public health, biosecurity, infectious disease, and of course hospitality and maritime operations. This collaboration will develop recommendations for cruise lines to advance their response to COVID-19 and beyond.
Cruise lines have always been dedicated to improving health and safety onboard: “This unprecedented disease requires us to develop unprecedented standards in safety,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “Bringing aboard these respected experts to guide us forward demonstrates our commitment to protecting our guests, our crews and the communities we visit.”
The ‘Healthy Sail Panel’ is expected to have a plan by the end of August, and it’s sure to be quite flexible as this situation is everchanging. The cruise lines and the panel plan to have their scientific and medical findings be an ‘open source’ for other companies and the industry. Frank de Rio, president and CEO of NCLH said, “We compete for the vacationing consumer’s business every day, but we never compete on health and safety standards.” He is also looking at this as “an opportunity to raise the bar even higher” when it comes to the cruise industry’s already rigorous health protocols. The collaboration is also being applauded by Kelly Craighead, the president and CEO of CLIA, “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 U.S. and abroad.”
The ‘Healthy Sail Panel’ will submit their plan to the Center for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and with their expertise, this plan is expected to cover all the bases. Working together shows a unified industry that just wants to get back out on the open waters. #stongertogether #wearecruise
This post was written by cruise industry expert, Shannon Mckee, founder of Access Cruise Inc. Access Cruise Inc is a Miami based cruise marketing and sales consulting group, specializing in product and business development within the cruise industry.