Royal Caribbean, NCLH Join Hands to Form Health & Safety Panel
Putting competition aside, Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd (NCLH). have teamed up to develop enhanced health and safety cruise standards that would be open to any company to adopt.
According to Travelweek, the two cruise lines have formed a new group of experts called the ‘Healthy Sail Panel’ and have asked U.S. Governor Mike Leavitt and Dr. Scott Gottlieb to serve as co-chairs. The panel is tasked with collaboratively developing recommendations for cruise lines to improve safety in response to the COVID-19 pandemic, and achieve readiness for the safe resumption of operations.
The panel has been working for nearly a month, with its initial recommendations anticipated to be released by the end of August. All recommendations will be “open source”, meaning they could be freely adopted by any company or industry that would benefit from the group’s scientific and medical insights.
“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 of NCLH. “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.”
Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, added: “This unprecedented disease requires us to develop unprecedented standards in health and safety. Bringing aboard these respected experts to guide us forward demonstrates our commitment to protecting our guests, our crews and the communities we visit.”
In addition to Governor Leavitt, former Secretary of the U.S. Department Health and Human Services (HHS) and Dr. Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), the panel’s members are globally recognized experts from various disciplines.
“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. 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,” said Governor Leavitt.