Cruise Week reports that at Thursday's White House press conference, President Trump said: “One of the things that happened this morning is that I spoke with Micky Arison of Carnival Cruise Lines, and he is going to make ships available.
"So in addition to the big medical ships that you have coming (U.S. Navy hospital ships), if we should need ships with lots of rooms, they will be docked in New York, Los Angeles, San Francisco, different places. So I want to thank Micky Arison."
A statement from Carnival Corporation said that select cruise ships from the company's global cruise line brands, including CCL, HAL, Princess Cruises and P&O Cruises Australia, will be made available to communities for use as temporary hospitals to help address the escalating impacts of the COVID-19 pandemic on healthcare systems around the world.
The ships would be used as temporary healthcare facilities to treat non-COVID-19 patients, to take some of the load off land-based hospitals, which can then put more focus on treating pandemic patients.
Carnival Corp. said interested parties will be asked to cover only the essential costs of the ship's operations while in port.
The Carnival statement makes a strong case for the viability of the offer:
"If needed, cruise ships are capable of being quickly provisioned to serve as hospitals with up to 1,000 hospital rooms that can treat patients suffering from less critical, non-COVID-19 conditions,” a Carnival statement said.
"These temporary cruise ship hospital rooms can be quickly converted to install and connect remote patient monitoring devices over the ship's high-speed network – providing cardiac, respiratory, oxygen saturation and video monitoring capabilities. The rooms also have bathroom facilities, private balconies with access to sun and fresh air, as well as isolation capabilities, as needed.
Additionally, cruise ships being used as temporary hospital facilities to treat non-COVID-19 patients would have the ability to provide up to seven intensive care units (ICUs) in the ship's medical center equipped with central cardiac monitoring, ventilators and other key medical devices and capabilities.
"Similar to land-based health facilities, cruise ships can also house multiple medical functions in disparate locations by using different decks on the ship to separate each required medical area.
Using the ships would also provide jobs for some idled Carnival Corp. crewmembers.
"The temporary hospital cruise ships would be berthed at a pier near the community in need and operated by the ship's crew, with all maritime operations, food and beverage, and cleaning services provided by crew members on the ship. Medical services would be provided by the government entity or hospital responsible for fighting the spread of COVID-19 within that community," the Carnival statement said.