Health and Safety

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Our vision is to be the vacation of choice for everyone around the world. That’s why we’ve enhanced our commitment to health and safety with our SailSAFE Health and Safety Program. To protect our guests, crew and communities we visit, we have developed a robust and comprehensive health and safety strategy with new and enhanced protocols to create multiple layers of protection against COVID-19. Initial voyages will operate with fully vaccinated guests and crew, combined with preventative health and safety measures which we believe will provide a uniquely safe and healthy vacation experience. Our science-backed plan for a safe and healthy return to cruising was developed in conjunction with a diverse group of globally recognized experts and will be continuously evaluated using the latest science and technology.

Download our one-page health and safety flyer here





Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings in collaboration with fellow cruise industry leader Royal Caribbean Group has assembled the Healthy Sail Panel (“HSP"), a group of leading experts to help inform the industry in the development of new and enhanced cruise health and safety standards in response to the global COVID-19 pandemic.

The HSP, co-chaired by Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) and Governor Mike Leavitt, former Secretary of the U.S. Department of Health and Human Services (HHS), has guided us on the development of a science-backed plan for a safe and healthy return to cruising. The HSP’s members are globally recognized experts from various disciplines, including public health, infectious disease, biosecurity, hospitality and maritime operations.

The HSP has provided its comprehensive recommendations in an over 65-page report including 74 detailed best practices across five areas of focus to improve health and safety for passengers and crew and reduce the risk of infection and spread of COVID-19 on cruise ships. The HSP’s recommendations have been used to inform our company specific SailSAFE health and safety program.

The work of the HSP has been shared not only with the entire cruise industry, but with other industries that may benefit from our findings — because we’re all in this together.

Visit our press release here to learn more about the formation of the Healthy Sail Panel and view the bios of our experts here.

Visit our press release here to learn more about the Healthy Sail Panel’s recommendations. For more details download the full report here, recommendation infographic here and video overview here.


SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council


Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. established the SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council (“The Council”) to provide expert advice on the implementation, compliance with and continuous improvement of the Company’s SailSAFE health and safety program. The Council will complement the work of the Healthy Sail Panel and continuously evaluate and identify ways to improve health and safety standards after cruise voyages resume, utilizing the best technologies and information available.

The Council is cross-functional, diverse and extensively experienced, comprised of six experts at the forefront of their fields and led by Chairman of the Council, Dr. Scott Gottlieb, former commissioner of the U.S. Food and Drug Administration.

To learn more about the formation of the SailSAFE Global Health and Wellness Council and view the bios of our experts here


Meet Our Team of Scientific and Public Health Experts

  • Scott Gottlieb, M.D., Co-Chair HSP, Chairman of the SailSAFE Council

    Dr. Scott Gottlieb was the Commissioner of the FDA from 2017-2019 and served as the agency’s Deputy Commissioner for Medical and Scientific Affairs from 2005-2007. He is a physician trained in internal medicine, a contributor at CNBC and is currently a resident fellow at the American Enterprise Institute.
  • Governor Mike Leavitt, Co-Chair HSP

    Mike Leavitt was a three term Governor of Utah and served as Administrator of the EPA and Secretary of HHS under President George W. Bush. He is the founder of Leavitt Partners, a firm that provides investment support, data and analytics, member-based alliances, and direct services to clients to support decision-making strategies in the value economy.
  • Helene Gayle, M.D., M.P.H., HSP Panelist

    Helene Gayle, M.D., M.P.H.
    Dr. Gayle is CEO of the Chicago Community Trust. Dr. Gayle spent 20 years with the Centers for Disease Control. She worked at the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation, directing programs pertaining to global health issues. Dr. Gayle serves on boards including The Coca-Cola Company, Colgate-Palmolive Company, Brookings Institution, the Center for Strategic and International Studies, the Federal Reserve Bank of Chicago and the Economic Club of Chicago. She is a member of the Council on Foreign Relations, the American Public Health Association, the National Academy of Medicine, the National Medical Association and the American Academy of Pediatrics.
  • Julie Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H., HSP Panelist

    Gerberding, M.D., M.P.H.
    Dr. Gerberding is EVP/Chief Patient Officer for Merck and a world-renowned public health expert. Prior to joining Merck, she served as the Director of the CDC from 2002-2009. While at the agency, she led more than 40 emergency responses against crises such as anthrax, SARS, bird flu, food-borne outbreaks and natural disasters. Previously, Dr. Gerberding was a tenured faculty member in Infectious Diseases at the University of California at San Francisco (UCSF). She continues as an Adjunct Associate Clinical Professor of Medicine at UCSF.
  • Stephen Ostroff, M.D., HSP Panelist and SailSAFE Council Member

    Dr. Ostrofff was Acting Commissioner of the FDA from 2015 to 2016, and before that served as the FDA’s chief scientist. He joined FDA in 2013 as chief medical officer in the Center for Food Safety and Applied Nutrition and senior public health advisor to FDA’s Office of Foods and Veterinary Medicine. Prior to that he served as deputy director of the National Center for Infectious Diseases at the CDC. He retired from the Commissioned Corps of the U.S. Public Health Service at the rank of Rear Admiral (Asst. Surgeon General). He was also the director of the Bureau of Epidemiology and acting physician general of Pennsylvania.
  • Steven Hinrichs, M.D., HSP Panelist

    Dr. Steven Hinrichs is Professor and Chair of the Department of Pathology and Microbiology at the University of Nebraska Medical Center in Omaha, former Director of the University of Nebraska Center for Biosecurity and the former Director of the Nebraska Public Health Laboratory (NPHL). He is the principal investigator of multiple national awards from the Association of Public Health Laboratories, CDC and DoD for the development of an outreach program to extend training and expertise in the early recognition of biological warfare agents. He has published greater than 180 papers in basic science and medical journals.
  • Michael Osterholm, M.D., Ph.D., HSP Panelist

    Osterholm, M.D., Ph.D.
    Dr. Osterholm is one of the foremost experts in public health, infectious disease and biosecurity. As director of the Center for Infectious Disease Research at the University of Minnesota, he is an international leader on pandemics preparedness. He is a consultant to the WHO, NIH, FDA, DoD and CDC. From 2001 to 2005, he served as advisor to the Secretary of U.S. Health and Human Services on issues related to bioterrorism and public health preparedness. From 2018 to 2019, he served as a Science Envoy for Health Security on behalf of the U.S. State Department. He has also been appointed to the National Science Advisory Board on Biosecurity and the World Economic Forum’s working group on pandemics.
  • William Rutala, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.H. , HSP Panelist

    Rutala, Ph.D., M.S., M.P.H.
    Dr. Rutala has extensive experience managing a variety of diseases and studying epidemiology and virology, particularly managing outbreaks and emerging pathogens. His research interests are the etiology and prevention of healthcare-associated infections with a focus on disinfection and sterilization of reusable medical and surgical devices. Other areas of research include contribution of the hospital environment to disease transmission, hand hygiene, preventing transmission of infectious agents, including multiply-drug resistant organisms, prevention of healthcare-associated Creutzfeldt-Jakob disease, investigation of healthcare-associated outbreaks, and new and emerging pathogens.
  • Kate Walsh, Ph.D. , HSP Panelist and SailSAFE Council Member

    Dr. Walsh is Dean and E.M. Statler Professor at the School of Hotel Administration at Cornell University, a leader in education for the global hospitality industry. A professor of management, Dr. Walsh’s primary research is in organizational service design, leadership, and the strategic investments of human capital. She has over twenty years of academic experience. In addition, Dr. Walsh has held a number of executive positions in hospitality human resources and is a former New York State certified public accountant. Dr. Walsh serves on the board of the American Hotel and Lodging Association.
  • Phyllis Kozarsky, M.D., HSP Advisor and SailSAFE Council Member

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    Dr. Kozarsky is a Professor Emerita in infectious diseases at Emory University having been a clinician, researcher, and teacher for over 35 years. She was the catalyst behind the building of Emory’s serious communicable disease unit that cares for patients with highly transmissible diseases such as the Ebola virus. Dr. Kozarsky has been a consultant to the CDC for over 20 years including in the Division of Global Migration and Quarantine, where she was chief of travelers’ health and the long-time editor of Health Information for International Travel. She has received a number of honors and awards from US Health and Human Services and the CDC for her involvement in responses to outbreaks such as anthrax, SARS, and H1N1. Dr. Kozarsky has also been a medical consultant for several Fortune 500 companies and the White House medical unit. Dr. Kozarsky was a founder of the International Society of Travel Medicine and the GeoSentinel Surveillance Network, where she is the senior advisor.

  • Caitlin Rivers, Ph.D., HSP Advisor and SailSAFE Council Member


    Caitlin Rivers, PhD, MPH is an infectious disease epidemiologist and faculty member at the Johns Hopkins Bloomberg School of Public Health. She specializes in emerging infectious diseases and outbreak science. Dr. Rivers participated as author or contributor in influential reports that are guiding the US response to COVID-19, including National Coronavirus Response: A Roadmap to Reopening; A National COVID-19 Surveillance System: Achieving Containment; and Public Health Principles for a Phased Reopening During COVID-19: Guidance for Governors which is being used by, the National Governors Association, the state of Maryland, and the District of Columbia to guide reopening plans.

  • John Y. Mason, SailSAFE Council Member

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    John Mason is the founder, CTO, and Chairman of The Sabre Companies, a group of operating entities specializing in the generation and application of chlorine dioxide. In his 35+ year career his core mission has been to minimize microbial contamination risk to both human and non-human health by developing value-adding technology for several industries. Since 2007, John and Sabre have worked extensively with several government agencies on various decontamination projects across Agricultural Production, Food Processing, Healthcare, and Defense, as well as continued work in the Oil and Gas Industry.

  • Robin Lindsay, HSP Panelist

    Mr. Lindsay is the EVP of Vessel Operations for NCL. He was appointed to this position in January 2015. In this role, Lindsay is responsible for Marine & Technical Operations, Hotel Operations, Entertainment, Product Development, Port & Destination Services, Fleet Personnel, Out Islands and New Build & Ship Refurbishment. Lindsay served in a similar capacity as EVP of Vessel Operations at Prestige Cruise Holdings, the parent company of Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Lindsay's history with the company goes back to the inception of Oceania Cruises in 2003, where he joined as SVP, Hotel Operations and Vessel Operations. Lindsay earned his B.S. degree from Louisiana Tech University.
  • Patrik Dahlgren, HSP Panelist

    Captain Dahlgren is the SVP of Global Marine Operations and Fleet Optimization for RCL. Patrik's seagoing experiences began as a bridge officer with tugboats, yachts and an array of cargo vessels and ferries. He rose through the ranks with over 15 years onboard Royal Caribbean Internationals cruise ships, with his last seagoing command as Master of Oasis of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas. He was the lead contributor to the Quantum of the Seas development, which received the esteemed RINA (Royal Institute of Naval Architects) award for its innovation and largest contribution to maritime safety.