MIAMI, Florida – July 6, 2020 – Cruise industry leaders Royal Caribbean Group and Norwegian Cruise Line
Holdings Ltd. announced a collaboration to develop enhanced cruise health and safety standards in
response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.
The companies have asked Governor Mike Leavitt and Dr. Scott Gottlieb to serve as co-chairs of a newly
formed group of experts called the “Healthy Sail Panel.” The panel is tasked with collaboratively developing
recommendations for cruise lines to advance their public health response to COVID-19, improve safety,
and achieve readiness for the safe resumption of operations.
The expert panel has been working for nearly a month and will offer its initial recommendations by the end
of August. The cruise lines said its work will be “open source,” and could be freely adopted by any company
or industry that would benefit from the group’s scientific and medical insights.
“This unprecedented disease requires us to develop unprecedented standards in health and safety,” said
Richard D. Fain, chairman and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group. “Bringing aboard these respected experts
to guide us forward demonstrates our commitment to protecting our guests, our crews and the communities
“We compete for the vacationing consumer’s business every day, but we never compete on health and
safety standards,” said Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. “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.”
“Health and safety are the highest priority for all CLIA cruise line members as demonstrated by this initiative
on the part of two of our largest members. We commend this and parallel efforts of all of our members,
large and small, who are working tirelessly to develop appropriate protocols based on input from health
authorities and medical experts in the U.S. and abroad,” said Kelly Craighead, president and CEO of Cruise
Lines International Association (CLIA).
Fain and Del Rio said they initiated the panel to assure the plans they will submit to the U.S. Centers for
Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other regulators apply the best available public health, science
and engineering insights. The work of the panel will be shared with the entire industry and regulators.
“In convening the Healthy Sail Panel, we sought the participation of a diverse group of leading experts in
areas of science and public health that are directly relevant to the considerations listed by the No Sail
Order,” said Governor Leavitt. “We view our work as a profoundly important public health effort. The health
and safety of passengers, crew, and the communities that cruise ships visit will be the principal focus of
Dr. Gottlieb said, “We know that the public health issues that must be addressed are complex, and in some
areas, tackling them will require novel approaches. Our goal in assembling this team of leading experts
was to develop best practices that can improve safety and provide a roadmap for reducing the risks of