(A Message from Joel Katz, Managing Director, CLIA Australasia)
This week the cruise industry took a major step forward in our global response to COVID-19 and our pathway towards resumption, with the adoption of mandatory measures to support cruise operations in the Americas.
The measures involve the core elements of a strong set of health protocols that will be implemented as part of a phased-in, highly controlled resumption of operations in key regions including the Caribbean, Mexico and Central America.
In addition to the resumption that has begun under strict protocols in regions including Europe, these latest initiatives will help inform CLIA’s global policy work, and represent an important milestone to support our ongoing discussions with the governments in Australia and New Zealand.
The core elements have been submitted to the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Highlights include:
We welcome the announcement of these core elements which are part of a response that goes far beyond the measures of other industries and involves stringent protocols covering the entire cruise experience, from booking to disembarkation.
Informed by leading scientists, medical experts, and health authorities, they include 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 collection of outside independent experts, amongst others.
This work has also supported the successful gradual restart of sailings by CLIA ocean cruise line members MSC Cruises, Costa, TUI Cruises, Ponant, and Seadream in Europe, Dream Cruises in Taiwan, and Paul Gauguin Cruises in Tahiti.
What all of these jurisdictions have in common is that they are taking a phased and measured approach to resumption, with close consultation between industry and the local governments and health authorities.
In Australia and New Zealand, the success in stemming community transmission provides an opportunity for a carefully staged and safe re-entry of cruise ships to offer local cruising to local residents only and this is what CLIA is proposing can take place here – a phased re-entry of cruise ships to operate domestic cruises only.
Working with governments and health authorities and always mindful of the health status in different areas, our industry sees an opportunity for a measured and carefully managed resumption of local cruise itineraries that work within international border restrictions.
In Australian states with border restrictions in place, cruises could remain within a single state, and then as state borders open that could be extended to include interstate cruises, carrying passengers between states when it is safe to do so. In New Zealand this would entail New Zealand cruises carrying New Zealand guests only. Then in due course itineraries could be expanded to any future “bubbles” between Australia and New Zealand, or the broader South Pacific.
Find out more about this week’s announcement here.
(Source: news release CLIA 24th September 2020)