Pence and Cruise Lines Note Positive Call; Restart Optimism High

Mike Pence

Cruise industry executives had a key conference call with U.S. Vice President Mike Pence on Friday afternoon, as momentum builds towards a cruise restart in the United States before year’s end.

The cruise industry’s proposal to resume operations in the U.S. will now be presented to the coronavirus task force in order to provide a recommendation to President Donald J. Trump with regard to next steps on the CDC’s No Sail Order, which expires on Oct. 31.

Other factors include COVID-19 cases in Florida and the progress of the industry restarting in Europe and Asia, according to sources.

Pence led the call with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) Director Dr. Robert Redfield; Department of Health and Human Services (HHS) Secretary Alex Azar; former Utah Governor and HHS Secretary Mike Leavitt of the Healthy Sail Panel; and cruise executives (listed below).

According to a statement, Pence gave a brief overview of the current state of the No Sail Order and highlighted the shared goal of reopening the maritime economy, with a focus on the cruise industry safely sailing again.

HHS Secretary Azar and CDC Director Redfield noted the work that produced the Healthy Sail Panel’s 74 recommendations, and the U.S 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,” according to a statement. 

Governor Leavitt emphasized that the industry was driven by producing real solutions without economic restraints, which did not result in competing on safety. 

The industry executives thanked the Trump Administration for its collaborative approach and support, according to a statement, and stressed that this process and proposal introduces accountability and standards that will ensure cruise ship passengers are in a safe and healthy environment.

Call Participants:
-Governor Mike Leavitt (Co-Chair, Healthy Sail Panel)
-Arnold Donald (CEO, Carnival Corporation)
-Frank Del Rio (President & CEO, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings)
-Richard Fain (Chairman & CEO, Royal Caribbean Group)
-Thomas Malzoum (President, Disney Signature Experience)
-Pierfrancesco Vago (Executive Chairman, MSC Cruises)

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