Pence briefed on Healthy Sail Panel vision

Cruise industry heavyweights discuss return to cruise with US Vice President

Cruise industry heavyweights discussed the planned path for the reintroduction of cruising from US ports with American Vice President Mike Pence on Friday [10 October 2020].

Participants in the call included Arnold Donald (CEO, Carnival Corporation), Frank Del Rio (President & CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings); Richard Fain (Chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Group); Thomas Malzoum (President, Disney Signature Experience), Pierfrancesco Vago (Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises) and Governor Mike Leavitt (Co-Chair of the Healthy Sail Panel).

Joining the US 2IC was the Director of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), Dr Robert Redfield; and the Secretary of the US Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), Alex Azar.

Discussions included the CDC’s No Sail Order (which was extended until 31 October 2020 late last month) and the Cruise Lines International Association and Healthy Sail Panel’s proposal to resume sailing operations in a safe and responsible manner. The recommendations from the Healthy Sail Panel recently received industry-wide adoption.

US Vice President Mike Pence | Credit: Official White House Photo by D. Myles Cullen

Together, the cruise line top brass stressed that their united process and proposal introduces accountability and standards that will ensure cruise ship passengers are in a safe and healthy environment.

Pence provided an overview of the current No Sail Order and the shared ambition to reopening the maritime economy with a focus on cruise lines’ safely sailing again. The US Vice President thanked the Co-Chair of the Healthy Sail Panel, Governor Leavitt, and the cruise line bigwigs for conducting an “industry-driven effort” centred on health outcomes.

Governor Leavitt emphasised that the industry was driven by producing “real solutions” without economic restraints.

CDC Director Redfield and HHS Secretary Azar acknowledged the 74 recommendations proposed by the Healthy Sail Panel, however, they cautioned that the cruise industry would have to “backstop their venture to resume operations,” the White House said in a statement.

The proposal will be presented to the Task Force in order to provide a recommendation to US President Donald Trump with regard to next steps on the CDC’s No Sail Order.

Last week, Cruise Lines International Association ocean cruise line members worldwide agreed to conduct 100% testing of passengers and crew on all ships with a capacity to carry 250 or more persons, with a negative test required for any embarkation.

Lead image: Crystal Serenity at sea | image credit: Guy Dundas

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