Back in the summer, Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. knew they needed to take the future of safe cruising in light of Covid-19 very seriously. They came together to assemble an impressive panel of people to look at whether cruising could safely resume any time soon, and if so, how it could be done. They called it the Healthy Sail Panel. One of the panel members is a former CDC director, and several of the other panel members are infectious disease experts. This is really an understated summary of the people on this panel, so I suggest checking out the list on page 6 of the 70-page report which was published late last month. The report is long and comprehensive. Certainly, not many people will want to read the whole thing, but some may be interested in finding sections that interest them most.
For those who just want some key details to take away, here you go:
-The panel made a set of 74 recommendations on how to protect guests, crew, and communities. Most of these items are a to-do list on the part of the cruise line and are not things that the passengers will have to do or see.
-"Risk can never be fully eliminated, but with appropriate measures in place, it can be substantially reduced, and many layers of risk reduction are needed since each alone is insufficient." -HSP Report.
-The first line of defense is to do everything possible to prevent the virus from coming on board (testing 100% of people coming on board).
-For now, passengers can expect to wear a mask, have a reduced number of passengers on board (that's something most of us like!), practice social distancing with anyone not in your party, and to only leave the ship at ports if you are on a ship-sponsored shore excursion. For now, at least, gone are the days of just walking off the ship and exploring on your own. In Italy, where MSC is already cruising successfully (for almost 2 months now), passengers who left their excursion group were not allowed to come back on board. This practice is meant to maintain a "safe bubble" of people who have been tested, drastically reducing the risk of anyone bringing the virus back on board.
Finally, here's an easy visual aid from Royal Caribbean Group and NCLH showing the five areas of focus. The link to the full report is beneath it.
The full report can be found here: https://www.royalcaribbeangroup.com/hspreport/
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