Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings have begun collaborating to develop “enhanced” health and safety standards for the cruise industry.
The companies have appointed a panel of experts to put forward recommendations for lines to follow to improve safety and ready themselves for the resumption of operations.
The Healthy Sail Panel – co-chaired by governor Mike Leavitt and Dr Scott Gottlieb - has been working for nearly a month and will offer its initial recommendations by the end of August.
Its members include experts in public health, infectious diseases, biosecurity, hospitality and maritime operations.
The group’s work will be “open source” and could be adopted by any cruise line.
RCCL chair and chief executive, Richard Fain, said: “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.”
Frank Del Rio, NCLH president and chief executive said: “We compete for the vacationing consumer’s business every day, but we never compete on health and safety standards.
"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.”
Fain and Del Rio said they had set up the panel to make sure plans submitted to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other regulators “apply the best available public health, science and engineering insights”.