NCLH and RCL unite in COVID health and safety protocols

Two cruise industry heavyweights join forces for common cause

Ocean Drive, PortMiami

Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings (NCLH) and Royal Caribbean Group (RCL) have agreed to collaborate on the development of enhanced cruise health and safety standards in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

A newly formed group of experts in the field has been formed called the “Healthy Sail Panel”, which is tasked with collaboratively developing recommendations for cruise lines to advance their public health response to COVID-19, improve safety and achieve readiness for the safe resumption of operations.

Already, the expert panel has been working for nearly a month and will offer its initial recommendations by the end of August.

“This unprecedented disease requires us to develop unprecedented standards in health and safety,” said Richard D. Fain, Chairman and CEO, 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.”

Richard Fain, Chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd | image credit: Royal Caribbean Blog
Frank del Rio, President and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd

“We compete for the vacationing consumer’s business every day, but we never compete on health and safety standards,” said Frank Del Rio, President and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “While the cruise industry has always had rigorous health standards, the unique challenges posed by COVID-19 provide an opportunity to raise the bar even higher.”

CLIA President and CEO Kelly Craighead said health and safety was the highest priority for all member cruise lines, as demonstrated by this initiative undertaken by two of the 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 US and abroad,” said Craighead.

Fain and Del Rio said they initiated the panel to assure the plans they will submit to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other regulators apply the best available public health, science and engineering insights. The work of the panel will be shared with the entire industry and regulators.

“We compete for the vacationing consumer’s business every day, but we never compete on health and safety standards,” said Frank Del Rio, President and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “While the cruise industry has always had rigorous health standards, the unique challenges posed by COVID-19 provide an opportunity to raise the bar even higher.”

CLIA President and CEO Kelly Craighead said health and safety was the highest priority for all member cruise lines, as demonstrated by this initiative undertaken by two of the 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 US and abroad,” said Craighead.

Fain and Del Rio said they initiated the panel to assure the plans they will submit to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other regulators apply the best available public health, science and engineering insights. The work of the panel will be shared with the entire industry and regulators.

“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,” said the panel’s Co-Chair Governor Mike Leavitt. “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.”

Fellow Co-Chair Dr Scott Gottlieb, Secretary of the US Department Health and Human Services, said, “We know that the public health issues that must be addressed are complex, and in some areas, tackling them will require novel approaches. Our goal in assembling this team of leading experts was to develop best practices that can improve safety and provide a roadmap for reducing the risks of COVID-19.”

The panel’s members are globally recognised experts from various disciplines, including public health, infectious disease, biosecurity, hospitality and maritime operations. They include Captain Patrik Dahlgren, Senior Vice President of Global Marine Operations and Fleet Optimisation for all Royal Caribbean Group global brands and Robin Lindsay, Executive Vice President of Vessel Operations for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.

Both cruise companies are Miami-based and play in the luxury cruising segment, with NCLH operating the Regent Seven Seas Cruises brand and RCL operating Azamara.

Lead image: PortMiami

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