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The healthy sail panel create by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings LTD announced a 72 Step plan to protect passengers when cruising returns including mandatory COVID-19 testing.

The Healthy Sail Panel is group made up of experts in the fields of medicine, science, infectious diseases, biosecurity, hospitality and maritime operations that was created to bring a healthy return of cruising. The main goal of the panel is to protect the public health of passengers, crew members and the communities that cruise ships visit.

Freedom of the seas in Labadee

Royal Caribbean Group operates the following cruise lines:

  • Royal Caribbean
  • Celebrity
  • Silversea
  • Azamara
  • TUI
  • Hapag-Lloyd 

Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings LTD. operates the following cruise lines: 

  • Norwegian
  • Oceania
  • Regent
  • Seven Seas
Royal Caribbean Ship at private island with waterslides

The group of experts were brought together to advise major cruise lines on what steps they should take to protect passengers.

The 72 step plan introduced by the heathy sail panel included some key plans on what passengers could expect when cruising returns to the United States including: 

  1. Testing, screening and exposure reduction
  2. Sanitation and ventilation
  3. Medical response and contingency planning
  4. Destination and excursion planning
  5. Mitigating risks for crew members
Norwegian Cruise Ship In Mexico

COVID-19 Testing For All Passengers and Crew Recommended: 

One of the key changes when cruising returns will most likely be the addition of COVID-19 testing. 

Included in the report was the plan to implement testing for all passengers and crew.

All passengers joining a ship, regardless of method of travel to the ship should be tested for COVID-19 between 5 days and 24 hours before boarding. Passengers will have to provide proof of the negative test result before boarding. There also could be a secondary test upon arrival implemented.

All crew should be tested for COVID-19 between 5 days and 24 hours prior to leaving their home location to join the ship. Crew must then present proof of a negative test before boarding and quarantine for seven days onboard.  At the end of the 7 day quarantine, the crew member would be tested again before starting their duties. 

Royal Caribbean Ship with logo

According to the plan, passengers embarkation could involve the following process:

  • Get tested for COVID-19 within 5 days of arriving for boarding.
  • Present negative COVID-19 test to cruise operators.
  • Undergo health screening to identify any potential COVID-19 symptoms.
  • Undergo temperature screening using a contactless device.
Norwegian Cruise ship painting in dock

“We understand our responsibility to act aggressively to protect the health and safety of our guests and crew, as well as the communities where we sail, and we asked the Panel to help us learn how to best live up to that responsibility,” said Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “We were inspired by the depth of the Panel’s work and their determination to help us establish the strongest protocols in the travel industry.”

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Once onboard the cruise ship passengers could see the following additional health protocols if the plan goes into effect: 

  • Guests and crew will be required to wear face masks in accordance with CDC guidelines
  • Capacity of ships restricted to allow for social distancing
  • Social distancing guidelines of 6 feet enforced
  • Floor markers and signage to enforce social distancing
  • Daily temperature checks for all guest and crew
  • Cruise line operated shore excursions only at port stops (Guest can't explore on their own)
Royal Caribbean aerial view

The 65 page plan was put together for all large cruise lines to follow in a joint effort for the U.S. cruise industry to return to sailing. The panel was created by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Lines LTD. but the findings of the plan are open to freely be adopted by any company or industry that would benefit from the group’s scientific and medical insights. As such, the Panel welcomed observers from:

  • Centers for Disease Control and Prevention
  • Cruise Line International Association (CLIA)
  • Carnival Cruise Line
  • MSC Cruises
Royal Caribbean Cruise Reopening Everything You Need To Know
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