Cruise lines are willing to follow 74 'best practices' to sail again, including mandating passengers wear masks and get tested 1 to 5 days before departure

  • The 65-page report outlines what cruise lines are willing to do in order to set sail again, including requiring proof of a negative coronavirus test and masks being required on board.
  • Most cruise lines are headquartered elsewhere in the world, which means they did not receive any government bailout funds. 
  • The CDC has until Monday to comment on the report. 
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On Monday, Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean submitted their 65-page report to the CDC outlining their plan for how cruises can set sail again.

Since the coronavirus pandemic halted travel and shut down ports across the world, the cruise industry has been hit hard. Failing to receive government money from the government bailout and adhering to a no-sail order for most ships means cruise lines are eager to start up business again.  

The Healthy Sail Panel, formed in July, comprises executives from both companies, hospitality experts, and former public health officials. 

The report contains "74 detailed best practices to protect the public health and safety of guests, crew and the communities," according to the Royal Caribbean website. 

This is a very comprehensive approach with multiple layers to try to ensure safety on the ship," Scott Gottlieb, who worked for the FDA during part of the Trump administration, told USA Today.

Some of the recommendations include:

  • Both employees and passengers must take a COVID-19 test between 1 and 5 days before boarding the ship, and must prove a negative test result before boarding.
  • Requiring masks for both employees and guests. 
  • Having COVID-19 tests on board.
  • Leaving some guest cabins open for isolation in the event a guest becomes infected. 
  • Having all land excursions be pre-determined and vetted by the cruise company.  

"We believe you can create a bubble around this experience, where you put in place enough controls that you dramatically reduce the risk of introduction, and if you do have a single introduction, dramatically reduce further spread on the ship," Gottlieb said in the same interview. "We have an environment that we can tightly control."

The CDC has until Monday to comment about the report, which was submitted on the last day of a 2-month window for public comment. The agency will be using the comments from cruise lines and other entities to decide if traveling by sea is safe again, and if so, what it will look like. The information may be used "to inform future public health guidance and preventative measures relating to travel on cruise ships."

The entire report is available to read here.

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