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Cruise proposals get positive reception in White House call

Vice President Pence thanked Healty Sail Panel Co-Chair Mike Leavit and cruise executives for conducting an industry-driven effort that focuses on health outcomes
Vice President Mike Pence talked about a shared goal of reopening the maritime economy with a focus on getting the cruise industry safely sailing again at Friday's call with cruise line leaders.

Pence led the meeting with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention Director Dr. Robert Redfield, Department of Health and Human Services Secretary Alex Azar; former Utah governor and HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt of the Healthy Sail Panel and the leaders of five cruise companies.

They discussed the impacts of coronavirus on the cruise industry and the maritime economy, the CDC’s no-sail order and the Cruise Lines International Association and Healthy Sail Panel’s proposal to resume sailing in a safe and responsible manner. The Healthy Sail Panel's recommendations have been adopted industry-wide.

Pence thanked Leavitt and cruise executives for conducting an industry-driven effort that focuses on the health outcomes.

Cruise leaders on the call

Cruise leaders on the call were Arnold Donald, president and CEO, Carnival Corp. & plc; Frank Del Rio, president and CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings; Richard Fain, chairman and CEO, Royal Caribbean Group; Thomas Mazloum, president, Disney Signature Experiences (which includes Disney Cruise Line) and Pierfrancesco Vago, executive chairman, MSC Cruises.

Commitment but caution

According to a White House readout of the call, Azar and Redfield 'touched on their commitment to the collaborative effort that produced the Healthy Sail Panel’s 74 recommendations, and the federal government’s support of the industry to safely and responsibly sail again, but cautioned that the cruise industry would have to backstop their venture to resume operations.'

Leavitt provided an overview of how the Healthy Sail Panel approached their report and recommendations, and emphasized the industry was driven by producing real solutions without economic restraints that did not result in the cruise lines competing on safety. Leavitt indicated that the output needed to be practical and prioritized safety.

Accountability and standards

The cruise leaders thanked the Trump administration for its 'collaborative approach and support,' and stressed that this process and proposal introduces accountability and standards that will ensure cruisers are in a safe and healthy environment.

The proposal will be presented to the White House coronavirus task force to provide a recommendation to President Trump with regard to next steps in the CDC’s no-sail order.