Health and Safety


Guided by our vision to be the vacation of choice for everyone around the world, our Sail Safe program further enhances our existing health and safety commitment. The safety, security and well-being of our guests, crew and communities we visit has always been and remains our number one priority. The Company’s comprehensive and multi-faceted health and safety strategy includes implementation of additional enhanced protocols, utilization of leading-edge technologies, establishment of a diverse advisory council comprised of leading experts and collaboration with fellow cruise industry leaders.

Download our health and safety infographic here
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”, 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 Panel, 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), is guiding us on the development of a science-backed plan for a safe and healthy return to cruising. The panel’s members are globally recognized experts from various disciplines, including public health, infectious disease, biosecurity, hospitality and maritime operations.

The Panel 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 Panel’s recommendations will inform our company-specific robust set of new and enhanced protocols which will be submitted to the CDC and other public health agencies for approval.

The work of the Panel 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.



  • Scott Gottlieb, M.D., Co- Chair

    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

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.

    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.
  • Robin Lindsay

    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

    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.