The global cruise industry has taken its health and safety protocols to “a completely different level” during 2020 as ocean brands work towards a full return to operations amid the Covid pandemic.
That was the message from Clia’s global chair Adam Goldstein, who said the sector had “made incredible progress” since the association announced the first of several worldwide pauses to sailings by its members back in March.
“The amount of learning that has been going on [and] the protocol development has systematically, over these nine months, brought the cruise industry into a completely different level of understanding of how to mitigate the risks of Covid-19,” he told Clia UK’s virtual showcase.
“I would say [it has also] around public health generally, even though we started from a very high place.”
Goldstein emphasised to attendees the amount of collaboration the sector had seen taking place between rival lines during the Covid crisis.
“There has been more interaction among CEOs of the major lines in these nine months than there has been in the previous 25 years put together.
“There has been relentless communication and interactions – that doesn’t mean each CEO thinks the same as the other – we’ve had very aggressive and interactive debates about the way forward.”
Clia members had “harmonised” their strategies and ideas for combatting and prevent Covid, Goldstein explained, stressing he believed “the critical feature” was a pledge to test all guests and crew prior to embarkation.
On top of testing, he described how “multiple layers” of protection were being developed through mask wearing, social distancing, enhanced medical capabilities onboard ships and interactions with destinations.
He emphasised how during more than 200 sailings around the Mediterranean by 10 operators during the second half of the year there had been “virtually no cases” and stressed how, such as Royal Caribbean’s cancelled sailing in Singapore, “we are extremely capable of handling a case when it arises”.