Emerging Health Protocols: A Look at the Industry’s Top Cruise Lines
The health of passengers on cruise ships has always been a top priority. COVID-19 restrictions have fundamentally changed cruise ship protocols across several brands. Now that the top cruise ships are back in business, health protocols are being tested to their fullest extent.
For travel by sea, the CDC is a valuable resource for top maritime accident attorneys. The CDC keeps an updated Vessel Sanitation Program with some of the best inspectors in the industry. Before the pandemic, their 100-point scale listed Carnival Valor, Viking Sky, Celebrity Reflection and MS Koningsdam as some of the cleanest cruise ships in the industry. These are the ships that set the standard when it came to health protocols in the travel industry.
Having the cleanest ships means being prepared for potential health hazards. Even if the dangers are unknown, protocols are in place to protect passengers on a long journey. Some cruise ships went above and beyond by having all of the tools and services onboard at all times. Others ensured that destination ports were not far from necessary medical attention for emergency stops.
During the full outbreak in 2020, cruise ships were put to the test. Like the rest of the world, ships were taken by surprise. Even top tier ships faced issues with COVID-19 outbreaks that led to drastic changes in their health and safety protocols. The biggest of these changes was how ports dealt with infected tourists from other countries.
Restrictions ranged from onboard quarantining to an inability to even leave the ship. As pandemic restrictions tightened for each individual country, ships had to update their health and travel protocols on the fly. It was a mixture of confusion, misinformation and a lot of unsatisfied passengers. There are still ongoing lawsuits related to passengers that were traveling on cruise ships when COVID-19 was in full swing.
This proves that even the best health protocols were problematic in dealing with full strength COVID-19.
Present Day Standards
All health protocols for cruise ships are tightly linked to current CDC guidelines. For an updated list, the travel portion of the CDC website will always have current information. COVID-19 restrictions vary by brand, but all agree that exceeding a specific virus threshold will end the trip. This means a fully booked trip will turn to the port of embarkation as needed.
This is a big departure from 2020 and shows progress in dealing with travel related viruses. CDC guidelines extend to ports and makes it unlikely that infected ships are turned away. In 2021, the cruise industry is finally in sync with health protocols that deal with COVID-19 outbreaks.
Health protocols have helped refunds, leaving both consumers and cruise ships less vulnerable to lawsuits.
Cruise Ships Are Back
Tourism took a big hit when cruise ships were put on hold. For many places, this was the perfect time to change health protocols. Even when the pandemic ends, the new rules are a great foundation to protect cruise ship guests.