Major cruise companies have come together in agreement with new regulations that will require all passengers wishing to embark on experiences to show that they don’t have COVID- 19. The move aims to reassure the sector that large-scale cruise operations can go ahead in a safe way if testing is handled correctly.
A statement was recently shared by the Cruise Lines International Association (CLI), the world’s largest cruise agency association, stating that all of its members worldwide have agreed to conduct 100% testing of passengers and crews on all ships with the capacity to carry 250 people or more, with a negative test being required for embarkation. “We see testing as an important initial step to a multi-layered approach that we believe validates the industry’s commitment to making health, safety, and the well-being of passengers, the crews, and the communities we visit our top priority, ”the statement said.
A number of internationally well-known brands are members of the CLI, including Royal Caribbean, Carnival, and MSC. MSC Cruises’ executive chairman, Pierfrancesco Vago made an address at the G20 summit recently where he discussed the company being the first major cruise line to resume operations in Europe last summer, as well as the implementation of testing for all passengers. In his speech, Mr Vago called on the whole travel industry to embrace universal testing while implementing blocks on prospective travellers that may have been exposed to the virus.
“Throughout, we have been rigorous in the implementation of our protocol and have had to deny embarkation to well over 100 guests for testing positive, travelling with someone who tested positive, not having the correct medical paperwork or for infractions of our protocol. Our data shows that in a pandemic where up to 80% of those infected in the current outbreak are mild or asymptomatic according to the latest WHO data, there can be no doubt that testing is the key,”
Many governments around the world are still advising against cruising, while experts have pointed out that testing may return negative results in people who have in fact been exposed to the virus but it is not yet detectable.