Cruise Lines International Association has confirmed it will adopt a new set of health protocols as part of a phased-in, highly controlled resumption of operations in North America.
The trade body said this was a critical next step, with sailing having begun effectively in Europe.
The new regulations will see 100 per cent of passengers and crew tested for Covid-19 as they board, while mask wearing will be compulsory in all situations where physical distancing cannot be maintained.
Air management and ventilation strategies have also been re-examined to increase fresh air onboard.
Shore excursions will only be permit according to the cruise operators’ prescribed protocols, with strict adherence required of all passengers.
Cruise lines could even deny re-boarding to any passengers that do not comply.
CLIA president, Kelly Craighead, said: “We recognise the devastating impact that this pandemic, and the subsequent suspension of cruise operations, has had on economies throughout the world, including the nearly half a million members of the wider cruise community and small businesses in the Americas who depend on this vibrant industry for their livelihoods.
“Based on what we are seeing in Europe, and following months of collaboration with leading public health experts, scientists, and governments, we are confident that these measures will provide a pathway for the return of limited sailings from the United States before the end of this year.”
According to the most recent economic impact study from CLIA, cruise activity in the United States supported over 420,000 American jobs and generated $53 billion annually in economic activity throughout the country prior to the pandemic.
Each day of the suspension of United States cruise operations results in a loss of up to $110 million in economic activity and 800 direct and indirect American jobs, the body said.
In a statement, Carnival Corporation welcomed the move: “Across the industry, we are engaged with some of the world’s top medical experts and scientists, who are providing valuable insight to inform the ongoing and evolving development of new and enhanced protocols based on the latest scientific evidence and best practices for protection and mitigation.
“The cruise industry will continue to share learnings and best practices while working together as one united industry focused on the well-being of guests, crew and the communities we visit.”