JOEL Katz, Managing Director CLIA Australasia

People come first on the path to recovery

With services suspended and our ships at anchor, the global cruise industry is now working hard to build new foundations for our future operations.

Foremost will be a new health framework to uphold the safety of guests and crew. In an industry that is all about people, our recovery strategy will put people first and ensure that health and safety — as always — are the primary focus.

Right now, teams within CLIA and the cruise lines are working closely with medical experts and health authorities to ensure we learn as much as possible from the unprecedented events caused by COVID-19. Our aim is to be ready with the best possible measures in place when the time comes to resume sailing, and to ensure that we exceed community expectations in our response.

Together we are working strategically on three fronts.

The first of these is in maritime policy, where medical experts and industry leaders are working to define how we will operate cruises in the future. The maritime policy work will ensure that we address community concerns and the requirements of authorities internationally.

The second is in government affairs, involving engagement with political leaders and state and federal regulators to ensure our actions are understood and that we can be partners in creating a new operating landscape for cruising.

The third is in communications, preparing to show that we are a responsible industry, and to explain all that is being done as we work towards a resumption of services.

It’s an enormous challenge and one that offers no quick solutions, which is why we have embarked on a process that will be extremely thorough and will address the concerns that communities and authorities expect to see us confront.

While it’s too soon to discuss specific procedures being developed or the timing, the industry’s priority will be to ensure the safety and security of guests, our crew and the communities that cruise lines visit.

The cruise industry is not alone in having to confront this disease, but we will aim to set standards that other sectors may follow when it comes to our response.

In the meantime, we will support our wider cruise community — especially our travel agent partners — and prepare to communicate the changes we make in order to restore confidence before we sail.