Royal Caribbean Group announced on Monday a new collaboration with Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings to create a panel of health experts that will oversee development of enhanced cruise line health and safety protocols.

Known as the “Healthy Sail Panel, this group is comprised of top experts in public health, infectious disease, biosecurity, hospitality and maritime operations in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

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.

Serving at the head of the new panel will be Governor Mike Leavitt, former Secretary of the U.S. Department Health and Human Services (HHS), and Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA).

The Healthy Sail Panel has been working for almost a month, and should have its initial recommendations by the end of August.

Both Norwegian and Royal Caribbean have pledged that their 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.

Our love of travel is what keeps us looking forward. Our new Healthy Sail advisory panel—11 expert doctors, scientists, and health specialists—is guiding our way to safely cruising the new world. 

Royal Caribbean Group Chairman and CEO Richard Fain spoke with one of the Healthy Sail Panel’s co-chairmen, Governor Mike Leavitt, that shed more light onto how this panel was created, where it is going, and what its goals are in order to get cruise ships sailing again.

Each cruise line has a requirement to issue a plan or to develop a plan to demonstrate to various regulators that they have adapted to this new environment to assure as much safety as is possible. The job of the panel is to populate the thinking of Royal Caribbean and Norwegian so that when they think when they provide those plans, it has been populated with the best public health, engineering and scientific information available.

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