Cruise Lines International Association, the industry group that represents most of the largest cruise companies, announced a mandatory set of health protocols that will be implemented as part of a phased-in resumption of operations.

The core elements include:

  • Testing: 100 percent of passengers and crew will be tested for Covid-19 before embarkation.

    Mask-Wearing: All passengers and crew will have to wear masks onboard and during excursions whenever they can’t physically distance.

    Distancing: Physical distancing in terminals, onboard ships, on private islands and during shore excursions will be required.

    Ventilation: Air management and ventilation strategies to increase fresh air onboard must be in place and, where feasible, enhanced filters and other technologies to mitigate risk will be used.

    Medical Capability: Each ship must have a plan to manage possible medical needs and must allocate cabins for isolation in case of an outbreak. Advance arrangements must be made with providers of onshore transportation and medical facilities.

    Shore Excursion: Operators must set health and safety protocols and make sure passengers comply. Those who don’t will be prohibited from re-boarding.

    “Ultimately, our decisions will be informed by our global medical and science experts and the requirements of the places we operate and visit,” said Roger Frizzell, a spokesman for Carnival Corporation. “Our highest responsibility and top priorities are compliance, environmental protection, and the health, safety and well-being of our guests, crew and the communities we visit.”

Some companies are reluctant to depend on testing alone, after the SeaDream 1, a ship that had aspired to be a model for a safe return to cruising, cut short its Caribbean voyage last year because several passengers tested positive for the coronavirus, despite the fact they’d had a negative test before boarding.

Most major cruise lines have not decided whether they will require vaccinations for future sailings and are waiting for further scientific guidance once inoculation becomes more widespread around the globe.

In Britain, Saga Cruises and P & O said that they would require all guests to be fully vaccinated before boarding their ships throughout 2021. Royal Caribbean announced sailings from Israel to Greece in May, where all crew members and passengers over the age of 16 must be vaccinated.

Royal Caribbean Group. “We’ve been getting more and more experience with sailings abroad out of Germany, Singapore, the Canary Islands and Italy and we will continue to learn and adapt as new knowledge and scientific discoveries like the vaccine come to the fore.”

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