While we’re all cautiously optimistic that travel will resume in the coming months, according to research conducted by the Healthy Sail Panel, it may be easier to avoid contracting Covid-19 on a cruise ship vacation as opposed to spending the week in a major city or seaside resort.
The Healthy Sail Panel, a joint safety task force between Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Line, includes a group of the “best minds and leaders in public health,” across biosecurity, epidemiology, hospitality and maritime operations. The collective efforts “will be shared with the cruise industry and other industries that may benefit from [the] findings,” according to a statement by Royal Caribbean.
In an interview with Travel Weekly, Healthy Sail Panel co-chair Dr. Scott Gottlieb said of the panel’s findings that cruise ships will be significantly safer than other forms of travel due to their ability to ensure control within the entire environment while implementing enhanced health and safety protocols—whereas travelling within big cities does not hold the same luxury.
“We’re trying to come up with a set of measures that can be adaptable in a high prevalence environment as well as the future lower prevalence environment where [the virus] will continue to be a threat but, hopefully, a much lower threat,” Gottlieb told Travel Weekly. “Could taking a cruise potentially be a safer way to vacation in a Covid environment than going to London? I think it might.”
The Healthy Sail Panel will be using the guidelines put in place by the European Union when it comes down to planning for the updated health and safety protocols, best practices, and while developing other relevant standards that will be presented to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) before even beginning to consider setting sail.
“The cruise lines have got to be adaptable and flexible enough that they can begin to choose their destinations factoring in accurate data,” Healthy Sail Panel member and former Utah Governor Mike Leavitt added. “And be able to pivot when required.”