Cruise Industry COVID-19 Facts and Resources

As the world continues to address challenges regarding COVID-19, the top priority for the entire cruise community—including cruise lines, travel agents, ports, destinations, suppliers and beyond—continues to be the health and safety of passengers, crew and the communities in the places we visit.

Benefiting from the guidance of national authorities in regions where cruising has started to resume, particularly in Europe and parts of the South Pacific, and world-renowned experts in science and medicine, CLIA and our oceangoing members have developed the enclosed resources to help our members and partners navigate these unchartered waters together, with one voice.


#WeAreCruise



FAQs

  • Are cruise ships the source of COVID-19?

    Cruising is neither the source nor the cause of COVID-19. In fact, with over 20 million cases confirmed worldwide, cases of COVID-19 on cruise ships represent a fraction of a fraction of a percent of confirmed cases around the world.

    Like restaurants, hotels, movie theaters and the like, COVID-19 can spread in any setting where people come together to socialize and enjoy shared experiences. It also spreads in other transportation and hospitality sectors where people have close contact with others who are infected, such as airlines, subways and trains, buses and ride share vehicles.

    However, cruise ships do differ from other sectors and industries in ways that contribute to the misperception perpetuated in the media that the incidence of COVID-19 is higher than other sectors and industries. All CLIA ocean-going cruise lines (which represents 95% of global cruise ship capacity) must have credentialed doctors and nurses onboard who are required to provide health declarations detailing communicable illnesses of individuals onboard to port authorities around the globe prior to a ship’s entry. The majority of this information is available to the public. Neither airlines, hotels, nor any other travel and tourism sector is required to report the same information.

  • How do CLIA member cruise lines promote public health?

    Interestingly, CLIA ocean-going cruise ships are the only form of travel or passenger transportation that must be medically equipped to care for passengers or crew in the event of illness. As a condition of membership within CLIA, ocean-going cruise lines are required to fit their ships with medical facilities that meet the standards set forth by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), which require that doctors and medical personnel be available onboard 24/7. Additionally, cruise ships must have an examination room, an intensive care room and equipment for processing labs, monitoring vital signs and administering medications.

  • How do CLIA cruise lines keep cruise ships clean and sanitary?

    Keeping cruise ships clean and sanitary is a top priority for CLIA member cruise lines. Cruise ship crews clean and sanitize surfaces known for transmitting germs, multiple times throughout the day, such as handrails, door handles and faucets. At the end of a voyage and before a new one begins, ships are cleaned completely prior to the arrival of new passengers. CLIA cruise lines also help to educate cruise passengers on personal health and safety practices. Cruise passengers are reminded to wash their hands regularly and hand sanitizers are readily available in public locations. While this longstanding cruise line practice may sound minor, COVID-19 has reaffirmed the critical importance of hand hygiene to protecting public health.

    Additionally, the industry has a longstanding collaboration with the CDC and The Vessel Sanitation Program (VSP) to make sure ships meet strict sanitation guidelines. As part of the program, cruise ship crews are trained in sanitation and health practices and ships undergo unannounced inspections twice a year, with scores made available to the public. No other travel and tourism or entertainment industry has this type of federal program or oversight.

  • What is the economic impact of the suspension of cruise operations?

    Cruise activity supports over 1.17 million jobs across a wide cross-section of industries and sectors, from ground and air transportation to food and beverage, lodging, manufacturing, hotels, professional services and a broad range of suppliers and service providers throughout the world. Unfortunately, the impacts of COVID-19 are being felt across this vast community, with up to 2,500 jobs lost each day that cruises are not operating. When the time is right for cruise operations to safely resume, cruising will be an important contributor to fueling the global economic and societal recovery.

    Below are some additional facts about the economic impact of the cruise industry and the impact of the ongoing suspension of passenger operations.

    Worldwide Economic Impact:

    • The cruise industry generates over $150 billionUSD in worldwide economic activity and supports nearly 2 million jobs.
    • Every 1% drop in cruising that occurs worldwide results in up to 9,100 lost jobs.
    • Each day of the suspension results in the loss of up to 2,500 jobs worldwide.
    • From mid-March, when the suspension of cruise operations began, through the end of September, the worldwide impact will be a loss of $50 billion USD in economic activity, 334,000 jobs and $15 billion USD in wages.

    United States:

    • The cruise industry generates over $53 billionUSD in economic activity in the U.S. and supports 421,000 American jobs.
    • Every 30 cruisers from U.S. ports support one American job.
    • Each day of the suspension of cruise operations in the U.S. results in a total loss of approximately $110 million in economic activity and up to 800 American jobs.
    • From mid-March, when the suspension began, through the end of September, we estimate that the suspension of cruise passenger operations will result in a total loss of 163,700 direct and indirect American jobs and $8.6 billion in total wages

    Europe:

    • The cruise industry generates 53 € billion in economic activity in Europe and supports 435,000 European jobs.
    • Every 1% drop in cruising from Europe results in up to 3,500 jobs lost.
    • Each day of the suspension results in the loss of up to 1,000 jobs in Europe.
    • From mid-March, when the suspension began, through the end of September, we estimate that the suspension of cruise operations will result in a total loss of 215,800 direct and indirect European jobs and 7€ billion in total wages.

    Canada:

    • The cruise industry generations $4.1 billion CAD in economic activity in Canada and supports more than 29,000 Canadian jobs.
    • Every 1% drop in cruising in Canada results in up to 300 jobs lost.
    • Each day of the suspension results in the loss of up to 100 Canadian jobs.
    • From mid-March, when the suspension began, through the end of September, we estimate that the suspension of cruise operations will result in a total loss of 20,500 direct and indirect Canadian jobs and $1.09 billion CAD in total wages.

    For more information about the economic impact of the cruise industry worldwide, please visit: CLIA 2018 Economic Analysis.

  • What are the main components of CLIA’s COVID-19 Member Policy?

    The COVID-19 Member Policy entails comprehensive prevention, detection and response strategies from the time of booking through the cruise itinerary and at disembarkation.

    Highlights include:

    • Medical: Augmented shipboard medical staffing, capacity to provide for intensive care of COVID-19 cases, illness reporting, diagnostic equipment, personal protective gear, daily temperature checks for staff and crew and a dedicated onshore entity to address all inquiries and aspects related to COVID-19 case management, among others.

    • Ship Environment: Reserved cabins for isolation, physical distancing, air management risk mitigation strategies to increase fresh air flow and deploy enhanced filtration technologies, strengthened sanitation protocols, hand washing stations, signage, among others.

    • Measures for Crew: Conduct 100% testing of all crewmembers, with a requirement for negative test results, prior to their departure from home, prior to embarking the ship, upon conclusion of a minimum 7-day quarantine and at least once monthly; daily symptom screening, mask-wearing in public spaces and service areas, limited cabin occupancy and access to mental health support resources, training in new protocols, among others.

    • Measures for Passengers: Frequent communication from the time of booking including instructions for complying with public health requirements, staggered guest arrivals and departures, completion of a health declaration, requirement for a negative test result prior to boarding, health screening, physical distancing, mask-wearing, strict adherence to shoreside protocols at ports of call, tracking and tracing for at least 30 days following disembarkation to facilitate post cruise communication, among others.

    • Case Detection and Management: Immediate isolation for possible or confirmed cases of COVID-19 in pre-designated, reserved isolation cabins, rapid implementation of response protocols to identify and quarantine close contacts, risk-based response plans, screening and testing of disembarking passengers who are close contacts of confirmed COVID-19 cases, among others.

    • Response Mobilization: Pre-arranged response logistics for each itinerary for transportation providers, shoreside quarantine and medical facilities in the event infectious illness exceeds onboard management capability; medical priority to be assigned to disembark confirmed COVID-19 cases as soon as reasonably practical, among others.

    • Implementation, Audit and Review: Verification of implementation by Member cruise line CEOs either prior to initial restart or during annual review of the CLIA Compendium of Member Policies; following any cruise on which COVID-19 is detected, Members are to conduct a review a the first opportunity to identify opportunities for improvements, among others.

    • Supplemental Procedures Specific to Brands/Ships: Development of plans as needed to implement this Policy and to reflect all necessary details for ship or fleet-specific prevention, surveillance, and response protocols applicable in the ports and regions in which they operate. Such plans are to also address contractual services, if any, that provide for applicable medical response measures and procedures for transport and care ashore.

  • How and where is the COVID-19 Member Policy applicable?

    As a condition of membership within CLIA, all ocean-going cruise line members with the capacity to carry 100 or more persons onboard are required to implement the COVID-19 Member Policy. The Policy is applicable worldwide, wherever there are not more stringent requirements in place from governments and health authorities. For example, the Policy would not apply inside the U.S. where more specific requirements will be imposed under the Framework for Conditional Sailing and associated technical instructions.

  • Will the COVID-19 Member Policy be a permanent CLIA policy?

    The cruise industry has an extensive track record of working to protect the health of our guests, our crew and the communities we serve—adopting new measures along the way to continuously improve to make cruising one of the safest and best ways to experience the world. As with all Member policies, the COVID-19 Policy will be regularly evaluated and may change over time as circumstances evolve. Key considerations will likely include the availability of new prevention and mitigation measures, such as testing, treatments and, ultimately, the introduction of an effective vaccine.

  • Will COVID-19 vaccination become a requirement for cruising in the future?

    The measures implemented by cruise lines operating in all regions are to be continuously evaluated against the evolution of the global pandemic. The measures implemented by CLIA Members at initial restart may be adjusted as circumstances change over time including the discontinuation or persistence of travel restrictions, updated guidance from cognizant health authorities, low or high levels of community spread, increased herd immunity, new virus strains, and the development and availability of effective rapid testing, treatments and vaccines.

  • Why has the industry voluntarily suspended U.S. operations through the end of the year just as the CDC provided a framework for resuming operations?

    Since the first day of our voluntary suspension of operations in March, the cruise industry has remained steadfast in our commitment to making science-led, people first decisions. This action will provide additional time to align the industry’s extensive preparation of health protocols with the implementation requirements under the CDC’s Framework for Conditional Sailing and Initial Phase COVID-19 Testing Requirements for Protection of Crew.

  • Can the cruise industry effectively mitigate the spread of COVID-19 as the number of cases continue to rise around the world?

    What we know from scientists and healthcare experts is that no venue is immune to the virus. The best the world can do—and any industry can do—is to reduce the ability of the virus to enter an environment and to mitigate its impact by having rigorous protocols in place that evolve over time as conditions change, addressing prevention, detection and response.

    The enhanced protocols that CLIA members have agreed to adopt have been informed by the recommendations of world-class experts in public health and science, as well as the experiences of our members who have resumed sailing successfully in Europe and other parts of the world with the guidance and support of local and regional governments. We will continue to evolve our approach as circumstances evolve while maintaining a focus on effective, science-based measures to protect public health.

  • What plans are in place to make sure that ports around the world will accept cruise ships known or thought to be carrying COVID-19 positive persons onboard?

    CLIA and our oceangoing cruise line members continue to actively engage with our partners at the local, national and international levels to facilitate alignment as we work toward the gradual resumption of cruise operations. The combination of European guidance, national regulatory measures, cruise line protocols and port and terminal protocols are designed to promote the highest priority of putting people first while taking into account the need for carefully crafted response plans.

  • When did CLIA cruise lines first suspend passenger operations due to COVID-19?

    CLIA cruise lines responded swiftly to this unprecedented global crisis based on the information that was available, and under the guidance of prevailing health authorities. This culminated in the voluntary suspension of worldwide cruise passenger operations in mid-March, immediately following the World Health Organization’s pandemic declaration.

  • When will passenger operations resume?

    CLIA ocean-going member cruise lines will sail again when the time is right, and that timing will be based on a number of factors, including, most importantly, input from scientists and medical experts. Given the significant economic contributions of the cruise industry to global economies, CLIA member cruise lines look forward to contributing to the global economic and societal recoveries, in addition to welcoming valued guests back onboard and introducing them to their next adventures.



Guidance for Restarting Cruise Operations




 

Infographics(Click to download)


Health and Safety

Enhanced Public Health Measures

CLIA Research Highlights


Quick Facts(Download PDF)

The following are key facts about COVID-19 and the cruise industry, including the positive impact of cruising and the commitment of the wider cruise community to the highest standards of responsible tourism.

  • FACT: COVID-19 is a global pandemic, not caused by or limited to any one industry.

    COVID-19 can spread in any setting where people come together to socialize and enjoy shared experiences, which includes cruise ships, as well as restaurants, hotels, movie theaters, and the like. It also spreads in other transportation and hospitality sectors where people have close contact with others who are infected, such as airlines, subways and trains, buses and ride share vehicles.


    While it is easy to focus on cruising because of its high profile and transparent reporting standards, the fact is cruising is neither the source nor the cause of COVID-19. What is different about cruise ships compared to other settings is that no other sector or industry has such stringent reporting requirements coupled with the presence on board of credentialed doctors and nurses to provide medical surveillance. While it may be true that the world knows more about how COVID-19 impacted cruise ships than they do about how it has affected other sectors, it would be a false assumption to connect meticulous transparency and reporting to a higher frequency of infection.

  • FACT: The cruise industry is one of the most vigilant industries as it relates to sanitation and public health protocols.

    CLIA member cruise ships are cleaned and sanitized, under normal circumstances, with a frequency that is nearly unparalleled in other settings. Multiple times each day, cruise ship crews clean and sanitize surfaces known for transmitting germs, such as handrails, door handles, faucets, etc. CLIA member cruise lines also help educate cruise passengers on personal health practices, reminding passengers to wash their hands regularly and making hand sanitizer readily available throughout public spaces onboard.


    Moreover, CLIA ocean-going cruise ships are the only form of travel or passenger transportation that must be medically equipped to care for passengers and crew onboard. As a condition of membership within CLIA, oceangoing member cruise lines are required to fit their ships with medical facilities that meet or exceed the standards set forth by the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP), which require that doctors and medical personnel be available onboard 24/7. Additionally, cruise ships must have the ability to isolate contagious passengers, and they must have an examination room, an intensive care room and equipment for processing labs, monitoring vital signs and administering medications.

  • FACT: CLIA cruise line members took immediate and aggressive action in response to COVID-19, based upon available guidance from prevailing health authorities.

    From the beginning of this global public health crisis, CLIA cruise line members worked under the guidance of international and national health authorities to adopt policies and protocols, such as travel, contact , and symptom screening that went above and beyond the actions of other industries.

    The cruise industry is regulated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), flag states and port states (e.g., US Coast Guard, CDC, FMC, and EPA for the US) among others. In addition, as a requirement of membership, all CLIA cruise line members must adhere to a robust set of policies and practices which undergo constant review and improvement and often exceed what international, national, and local laws require.

  • FACT: The cruise industry is a vital artery for global economies, generating over $150 billion every year and supporting over 1.17 million jobs worldwide.

    Cruise activity supports over 1.17 million jobs across a wide cross-section of industries and sectors, from ground and air transportation to food and beverage, lodging, manufacturing, hotels, professional services and a broad range of suppliers and service providers throughout the world. Unfortunately, the impacts of COVID-19 are being felt across this vast community, with up to 2,500 jobs lost each day that cruises are not operating. When the time is right for cruise operations to safely resume, cruising will be an important contributor to fueling the global economic and societal recovery.

  • FACT: Cruise lines are required to operate under a robust system of local, national and international laws and regulations.

    The cruise industry is regulated by the International Maritime Organization (IMO), flag states and port states (e.g., US Coast Guard, CDC, FMC, and EPA for the US) among others. In addition, as a requirement of membership, all CLIA cruise line members must adhere to robust set of policies and practices which undergo constant review and improvement and often exceed what international, national, and local laws require.

  • FACT: Cruise lines provide meaningful and rewarding employment opportunities for crewmembers.

    CLIA cruise line members take pride in the ability to deliver meaningful employment opportunities to a truly global workforce with high satisfaction and retention rates. Cruise lines invest heavily to attract the best people, offering competitive wages, benefits and opportunities for career advancement—not to mention the opportunity to see and travel the world. CLIA oceangoing cruise line members must fully comply with the International Labour Organization’s Maritime Labour Convention (MLC), which sets labor standards for hours of work and rest, health and safety, as well as living conditions onboard.

  • FACT: The cruise industry is a leader in responsible tourism and a pioneer in maritime environmental protection.

    The cruise industry demonstrates its commitment to responsible tourism across five key areas and has the data and research to back up its investments, advancements, and progress in each of these categories: 

    • Environmental Sustainability 
    • Destination Stewardship 
    • Health and Safety 
    • Workforce 
    • Economic and Social Impact

    Worldwide, the cruise industry has already invested more than $22 billion in ships with new technologies and cleaner fuels to reduce air emissions and achieve greater energy efficiencies. Many of these technologies, such as shore-side power, LNG or exhaust gas cleaning systems, did not even exist five to ten years ago.

  • FACT: Cruises will sail again – stronger and better than ever – when the time is right.

    COVID-19 is an unprecedented event which, by definition, did not come with a roadmap for how governments, businesses, and people should respond. With hindsight, however, comes powerful knowledge, which will undoubtedly inform and shape the future of cruising.

    CLIA cruise line members are using this time during the voluntary suspension of commercial operations to focus on developing plans for the future, including consideration of enhanced boarding procedures, additional onboard public health and sanitation protocols, monitoring capabilities, quarantine arrangements and shoreside care for guests and crew. Timing for the return to operations will be based on a number of factors, including guidance from prevailing global health authorities and governments.

    Given the significant economic impact of the cruise industry, and the nearly 1.2 million jobs it supports, cruising will be a significant contributor to fueling the much-needed economic recovery.






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