According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), 17% of global ocean-going cruise capacity will be sailing again by the end of July. Andy Harmer, the association’s md UK, Ireland and senior vp membership offers, talks about the future of cruising and health and safety measures that will inspire confidence among cruise clients, trade partners and regulators.
“Since last July, nearly 600 000 passengers have sailed onboard CLIA-member ocean-going ships in Europe, South Pacific, parts of Asia, the UK and now the US. We are just beyond grateful to see ships sailing with passengers around the world again and that over a million people who rely on cruise tourism for their livelihoods can begin to get back to work,” said Andy.
CLIA ocean-going cruise lines have agreed to adopt extensive measures to help protect public health on board while still providing a world-class vacation experience, which truly makes cruising one of the best ways to experience the world right now. As a result of these measures, the incidence rate of COVID-19 on cruise ships is far lower than in practically any other setting – a remarkable achievement that should be celebrated.
These multiple layers of public health protocols were designed with input from scientists and medical experts. Those protocols, which will evolve as conditions change, have been working as intended to mitigate the risk of COVID-19 in a cruise setting, even prior to the introduction of a vaccine.
Some of these are:
*100% testing for passengers and crew prior to embarkation
*Mandatory quarantine for crew prior to interaction with guests
*Expanded medical capabilities on board
*Pre-arranged response logistics involving transportation and medical facilities
*Physical distancing measures
The industry’s proven public health measures, combined with a general increase in vaccination rates, will further contribute to protecting the health and well-being of cruise passengers, crew and destinations while providing vacation experiences and memories that will last a lifetime.
We share in the excitement of the vaccine roll-out and are optimistic it will help facilitate global recovery. Our members agree that a multi-layered approach is the right one to continue to mitigate risk. We believe that vaccinations should co-exist with testing regimes and other protocols and be considered a progressive enhancement to responsible travel.
The cruise industry is aware that the vaccine roll-out is at different stages in different parts of the world. That is why we have stringent and rigorous measures in place to effectively mitigate the risk of Covid-19 in a cruise ship setting.
Pent up demand?
Consumer research shows that there is optimism on the horizon with two out of three cruisers willing to cruise within a year and 58% of international vacationers, who have never cruised, likely to cruise in the next few years.
Rebuilding public trust in cruising is going to be a priority for us as we look to the future, and we hope to be able to do so by demonstrating the effectiveness of the measures in place.
Ports of call
CLIA cruise lines have agreements and contingency plans in place with the destinations we visit as part of our Member Policy for Mitigation of Covid-19. The protocolsinclude extensive prevention measures and, importantly, robust response and mitigation procedures to respond to, care for, and contain any potential instance of COVID-19.It is important to remember that no setting can ever be 100% safe, which is why pre-arranged response plans are critical.
As we continue to work towards resuming operations around the world, and the demand for cruising remaining high, we expect to see the passenger numbers and the growth trajectory rebound to pre-pandemic numbers in the coming year. People love to cruise, and we know that people will return to the seas, just as they will return to restaurants, bars, movie theatres, aircraft, resorts and beyond.
We encourage the travel trade in South Africa to keep in touch with CLIA and to visit crusing.org to stay abreast of the latest developments.