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Cruise Industry's Commitment to Public Health and Medical Capabilities Practice

Some OPRP Sanitation Measures

  • Closing self-service buffet tables
  • Disinfecting with special cleaning agents and electrostatic sprayers everything from poker chips to handrails
  • Thoroughly cleaning state rooms as often as circumstances warrant
  • Alerting passengers and staff

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) member cruise lines have consistently demonstrated industry's strong commitment to providing clean and sanitary environments aboard our vessels, and appropriate medical facilities and care for our guests.

Commitment to Providing a Healthy Ship Environment

  • Ships undergo regular inspections, conduct crew training and maintain frequent communication with the United States Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) to provide a safe, healthy environment for all at sea.
  • The cruise industry works with the VSP to help ensure cruise ships are in compliance with strict international and federal sanitation standards that are effective in mitigating illness aboard cruise ships.
  • CLIA member cruise lines plan for the prevention and containment of gastrointestinal illnesses, which include Norovirus. In the rare event of an outbreak, CLIA member cruise lines are to follow Outbreak Prevention and Response Plans (OPRP), which include the employment of numerous practices to mitigate its spread and treat ill passengers and crewmembers.
  • Norovirus, the most prevalent illness behind the common cold, is rare on cruise ships due to extensive sanitation procedures. Approximately 10.4 million passengers embarked on CLIA cruise ships from U.S. ports in 2011. There were 10 outbreaks reported to the CDC that year, involving a total of 1,099 passengers (according to the CDC website).This represents approximately one one-hundredth of one percent of total passengers (0.0156%).
  • In 2011, CLIA ships received an average Center for Disease Control sanitation score of 97 (the minimum satisfactory score is 86). Scores are available to the public through the CDC website at
  • CLIA's oceangoing members are to adhere to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) Health Care Guidelines for Cruise Ship Medical Facilities.

Policy on Medical Facilities

CLIA has adopted a policy that its members adhere to the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) guidelines on appropriate emergency care and health care maintenance for passengers and crew on board ships. ACEP is the world's largest association of emergency medicine professionals. CLICK FOR CLIA’S MEDICAL FACILITIES POLICY

The ACEP guidelines specify the qualifications of shipboard medical personnel and the appropriate medical facilities, including equipment and medical supplies. CLIA's members, including many licensed and experienced shipboard physicians, meet regularly to address a range of medical issues including the ACEP guidelines, vaccination and illness protocols and to review current medical developments relevant to cruise ships.

Regulations and Compliance

International Regulations
Flag State Regulations
Port State Regulations
(e.g. United States)
  • International: World Health Organization International Health Regulations
  • United States: CDC Vessel Sanitation Program and Quarantine programs
  • Canada: Health Canada Cruise Ship Inspection program
  • Brazil: ANVISA program
  • Europe: SHIPSAN program

CLIA is the world's largest cruise industry trade association and is dedicated to the promotion of a safe and secure cruise ship environment. CLIA is composed of cruise lines serving North and South America, Europe, Asia, and Australasia for whom the safety of guests and crew has no higher priority. With the advice and consent of its membership, CLIA advances policies intended to enhance shipboard safety, in some cases calling for best practices in excess of existing legal requirements.