According to CLIA, initial sailing has begun effectively with strict protocols in Europe.

Based on what we are seeing in Europe, and following months of collaboration with leading public health experts, scientists, and governments, we are confident that these measures will provide a pathway for the return of limited sailings from the U.S. before the end of this year.

...CLIA president and CEO Kelly Craighead noted.

Currently, a critical step is the resumption of the cruise operations in the CaribbeanMexico and Central America, which encompass the largest cruise market globally.

Following the situation, CLIA oceangoing cruise lines and their renowned teams of science and medical experts, including the recommendations from the Healthy Sail panel established by Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., as well as MSC's Blue Ribbon group and Carnival Corporation's independent experts, joined forces and issued the core protocols.

What is more, CLIA Global Board unanimously voted to adopt all of the listed core elements for an initial restart of limited operations in the Americas and, most important, operations related to U.S. ports.

The cruise lines' commitment to conduct 100% testing for all passengers and crew is significant and unique as compared to any other sector. Having this core element in place as part of an initial phase of operations adds a layer of confidence for us as we continue to work together developing guidelines and protocols so we may safely welcome cruising back to our regions.

...Prime Minister of Barbados Mia Mottley, who co-chairs the Americas Cruise Tourism Task Force, said.

These core elements will be continuously evaluated and adjusted against the current state of the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as the availability of new prevention, therapeutics, and mitigation measures.

Among others, the measures include:

  • Testing. 100% testing of passengers and crew for COVID-19 prior to embarkation.
  • Mask-Wearing. Mandatory wearing of masks by all passengers and crew onboard and during excursions whenever physical distancing cannot be maintained.
  • Distancing. Physical distancing in terminals, onboard ships, on private islands and during shore excursions
  • Ventilation. Air management and ventilation strategies to increase fresh air onboard and, where feasible, using enhanced filters and other technologies to mitigate risk.
  • Medical Capability: Risk based response plans tailored for each ship to manage medical needs, dedicated cabin capacity allocated for isolation and other operational measures, and advance arrangements with private providers for shoreside quarantine, medical facilities, and transportation.
  • Shore Excursions: Only permit shore excursions according to the cruise operators' prescribed protocols, with strict adherence required of all passengers and denial of re-boarding for any passengers that do not comply.

In light of the above, a Healthy Sail Panel recently submitted its recommendations to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in order to enhance safety onboard cruise ships.

Overall, cruise industry representatives filed competing petitions with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control over the upcoming expiration of the agency's "no sail order," which bans large cruise ships from sailing.