As part of theICEway ecosystem of companies, the team at ICE have spent over two decades working with clients in the cruise industry and continue to do so to the best of our ability in these difficult times. Last week, it was reported that the Centres for Disease Control and Prevention had announced an updated framework for a phased resumption of cruise ship operations in the US, which naturally piqued our interest.
The Coronavirus pandemic has ensured that 2020 has been a year to forget for so many of us, with people affected both personally and professionally. Businesses have ceased trading from numerous industries, and the fear is that this will continue to happen until a vaccine is found. The cruise industry, itself no stranger to challenges, was one of the first to be affected in travel and there has been much speculation as to when cruising will return until now, at least for operations in the United States – we hope.
The CDC announces a phased resumption of US Cruising
The phases, which are subject to change based upon factors such as public health considerations, include crew testing and future passenger testing.
To begin with, crew members will be tested and new safeguards will be implemented for them; the CDC has also vowed to ensure robust health and safety measures for the crew as they prepare adequate testing facilities for future passengers.
If you are searching for IT solutions for cruise to help deliver a safe return to sea, theICEway has a new suite of products designed specifically for the industry with that objective in mind.
As discussed in a previous blog post, the ‘Safe Return to Sailing for crew and guests’ solution from TravelComms and theICEway manages the entire guest embarkation / on-board / disembarkation journey, capturing and communicating essential health information and providing digital passes.
Test results are stored in an integrated dashboard and both on board and on shore medical officers can then continually monitor the data and act if necessary, keeping crew and guests safe.
Contact us to discuss further and arrange a demonstration.
Testing is vital
A 40-page order detailing requirements for multiple levels of testing was delivered the day before the no-sail order was due to expire. The CDC pointed towards the evidence in existence that demonstrates how cruise ships can help to facilitate Covid-19 transmission and even amplify it when at reduced capacity. It is therefore vital that the resumption of cruising be carried out with a robust framework in place designed to not only protect crew and passengers but also to protect those in ports and communities.
A Phased approach is necessary
The CDC cited the continued spread of Covid-19 worldwide to explain the need for phases, highlighting the risk of resurgence in areas where transmission had otherwise been suppressed. Subsequent phases will therefore include simulated and trial voyages designed to test risk mitigation before passengers are gradually re-introduced.
The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) issued a positive statement in response to the CDC announcement, suggesting that the association is looking forward to working with them to enable a return to cruising. Co-founder and CEO of theICEway, Ian Richardson, is also the chair of the CLIA Executive Partner Technology Initiative, and he too is buoyed by the plans.
“As a representative for theICEway and CLIA and having worked in the industry for more than twenty years, I’m completely behind the resumption of cruise as long as it is done in a safe manner. At theICEway we have spent years developing solutions designed to augment cruising and since the Coronavirus outbreak we have been working hard to create solutions for a safe and healthy return to sea. CLIA are committed towards achieving the very same, in a responsible manner and with public health the key consideration.”
Whilst these new measures are all set to go ahead as specified, the CDC has stated that additional orders and technical instructions will be announced as required. CLIA have also issued a further statement, in which President & CEO, Kelly Craighead, confirmed that they “…remain steadfast in our commitment to public health and safety.” She went on to point out that “while we are optimistic for the future, we recognize the devastating impact that the pandemic continues to have on our community.” CLIA are therefore extending their US operations suspension until the end of December; watch this space for further updates as and when they arrive.