The CLIA members have taken a proactive role in addressing the quality of shipboard medical care, and many cruise ship physicians are members of the American College of Emergency Physicians (ACEP) and serve on that organization's Cruise Ship and Maritime Medicine Section.
As a result of cooperative efforts between experienced cruise ship physicians and ACEP, CLIA cruise lines traveling regularly on itineraries beyond the territorial waters of the coastal state, have agreed to meet or exceed the requirements of the ACEP Health Care Guidelines for Cruise Ship Medical Facilities as revised January 2019. ACEP's guidelines address the facilities, staffing, equipment and procedures for medical infirmaries on cruise ships traveling outside territorial waters of the coastal state. Patients requiring more comprehensive facilities or treatment are typically referred to a shoreside medical facility.
These guidelines are not intended to constitute medical advice, nor to establish standards of care applicable to the industry as a whole. They reflect consensus among members of the facilities and staffing needs considered appropriate aboard cruise vessels, within the recognized limitations of the sea environment. However, the practices of individual cruise lines and shipboard physicians may vary depending upon passenger and crew demographics, itinerary, ship's construction and other circumstances.
The guidelines are generally intended to foster the following goals:
- To provide reasonable emergency medical care for passengers and crew aboard cruise vessels
- To stabilize patients and/or initiate reasonable diagnostic and therapeutic intervention
- To facilitate the evacuation of seriously ill or injured patients when deemed necessary by a shipboard physician
The ACEP guidelines can be viewed at https://www.acep.org/
Last updated 3 April 2020
As part of their commitment to passenger and crew safety in the context of communicable diseases, CLIA’s Members have adopted the following policy for all oceangoing vessels:
General Pre-Boarding Health Screening
All embarking persons are to receive pre-boarding health screening, to assist in preventing the spread of communicable diseases.
In light of recent developments related to COVID-19 the policy has been amended with preventative measures applicable to crew and others that board ships while passenger services are suspended. These measures are under constant review. Additional measures applicable to passengers will be considered as the industry approaches resuming passenger operations.
Deny boarding to all persons with severe chronic medical conditions, including those specified by the U.S. CDC https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/specific-groups/high-risk-complications.html
Conduct illness screening for all persons. Illness screening will include symptom history checks for fever, cough and difficulty breathing in the 14 days before embarkation and the taking of the person’s temperature. Any individual with a temperature reading at or above 100.4 degrees F / 38 degrees C is to be denied boarding.
Deny boarding to all persons who, within 14 days prior to embarkation, have had contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who are currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.
Conduct pre-boarding screening necessary to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.
This policy may be updated upon approval of the Global Executive Committee to reflect evolving developments and/or guidance from responsible public health authorities.