Days after implementing enhanced screening measures, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has submitted its comprehensive plan focused on “prevention, detection and care” to the U.S. government amid the coronavirus (COVID-19) outbreak.
While there’s no deadline by which the government must respond, CLIA chairman Adam Goldstein told Travel Weekly that cruise lines will put the plan into action as soon as possible.
Naturally, the industry’s first focus will be preventing the spread of illness. “For instance, if you had been to one of the countries listed [as level 3 by the Centers for Disease and Prevention], you wouldn’t be able to come on the ship,” said Goldstein.
When it comes to detection, cruise lines are seeking the ability to begin testing for COVID-19 onboard. Sample analysis would still be conducted on land. Goldstein told Travel Weekly: “We have first-rate medical facilities and personnel on board, but no test kits.”
The final element of the plan focuses on care and how cruise lines can “be proactive and distinguish between risk levels” in the event of a suspected or confirmed case onboard, according to Goldstein.
CLIA’s latest efforts come on the heels of a controversial U.S. State Department advisory recommending that Americans—particularly older adults and travelers with underlying health issues—avoid cruising, which prompted a passionate response from the American Society of Travel Advisors (ASTA).
“We’re all in this together and we’re all hurting—cruise companies, agents, our suppliers. We value the contributions of travel advisors enormously and understand they’re suffering, enduring extra expense, hassles, long hours. It’s happening to everybody,” added Goldstein.
In addition to the cruise industry’s ongoing efforts to protect travelers and crew members, cruise lines are offering flexible cancellation policies to provide customers with added peace of mind.
We have committed to do even more to protect our guests, our crew and the communities where we sail. This includes more stringent boarding procedures, adding additional onboard medical resources and temperature screenings at embarkation.
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