Cruise line bosses have held discussions with the White House over plans to resume sailing in a “safe and responsible manner”.
US vice president Mike Pence chaired a call with five cruise line executives; the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC); the Department of Health and Human Services, and the Healthy Sail Panel.
Carnival Corporation chief executive Arnold Donald; Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings president and chief executive Frank Del Rio; Royal Caribbean Group chairman and chief executive Richard Fain; Disney Signature Experience president Thomas Malzoum and MSC Cruise’s executive chairman Pierfrancesco Vago were present for the discussions, held yesterday (October 9).
A statement on the White House website said the call had focussed on “the impacts of the coronavirus on the cruise line industry and the maritime economy, the CDC’s No Sail Order, and the Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) and Healthy Sail Panel’s proposal to resume sailing operations in a safe and responsible manner.”
The Healthy Sail Panel has proposed 74 key steps towards the resumption of cruising, and since being announced in September, has received industry-wide adoption.
The proposals are now to be presented to the Coronavirus Task Force with a view to provide a recommendation to the president, Donald Trump, on the next steps on the CDC’s current No Sail Order which currently bans US-based cruising through until October 31.
According to the statement, Pence “highlighted the shared goal of reopening the maritime economy, with a focus on the cruise line industry safely sailing again.”
He thanked the Healthy Sail Panel and cruise line bosses for “conducting an industry-driven effort that focusses on the health outcomes”.
The White House said the cruise lines bosses had stressed that the process and proposals of the Healthy Sail Panel would result in “accountability and standards that will ensure cruise ship passengers are in a safe and healthy environment.”
Speaking at the Seatrade Cruise Virtual conference, Carnival Corporation’s Arnold Donald said: “I’m a 4.5 to a 4.9 on the optimism scale [out of 5]” while Royal Caribbean’s Richard Fain said he was “confident and optimistic”.
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