As the world continues to address challenges regarding COVID-19, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has been working with local and national governments around the world, as well as leading health authorities and our partners across the wider cruise community to coordinate our efforts during the ongoing suspension of worldwide cruise operations.
The top priority for our entire 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.
The fact remains that the vast majority of more than 270 cruise ships within the CLIA member fleet were not affected by this virus. This is due, in large part, to the aggressive measures adopted by CLIA oceangoing cruise lines in response to COVID-19 based on prevailing guidance from global health authorities, including the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO). Those measures include rigorous screening protocols, enhanced sanitation measures and the availability of onboard medical care and treatment 24/7.
Tragically, we know now that this virus can affect any setting where people come together to socialize and enjoy shared experiences. For this reason—and upon the WHO’s declaration of a pandemic in mid-March—CLIA oceangoing cruise lines took the unprecedented step to voluntarily suspend worldwide operations, making the cruise industry one of the first to do so.
Unfortunately, the suspension of cruise operations will have a pronounced detrimental effect on the global economy. The cruise industry generates more than $150 billion per year in global economic activity and supports over 1.17 million jobs worldwide. Cruising touches almost every sector, from transportation and agriculture, to hospitality and tourism, manufacturing and beyond. When the time is right for cruise ships to once again set sail, our community will be an important part of the global economic and societal recovery.
CLIA, on behalf of the wider cruise community, appreciates the constructive working relationships we share with global authorities around the world, including in North America, Europe, Australasia and South America. We will use this time during the suspension of global operations to continue to work with them to achieve our shared objective of going further still in our efforts to protect the health and safety of passengers, crew and public and to support recovery goals for tourism and business sector partners.