An independent study commissioned by Royal Caribbean Group shows that transmission of aerosol particles on board ships with HVAC systems is ‘exceptionally low’.

Cruise giant Royal Caribbean Group has ships fitted with HVAC systems, which were originally designed to improve ventilation on board by bringing in ocean air and filtering it before sending through rooms.

Royal says findings of the study, completed in partnership with the University of Nebraska Medical Center and the National Research Institute, shows the system in place on board its ships was already designed to reduce transmission of airborne diseases.

The study found aerosol particles were undetectable both in the air and on surfaces when filtered through the HVAC system.

Scientists from the university studied air flow on Oasis of the Seas (pictured) in July 2020, while the ship was in Miami.

Findings have been shared with the Healthy Sail Panel formed by Royal with Norwegian Cruise Line parent NCLH, and which has detailed 74 best practices for a return to sailing.

Royal Caribbean said it is “implementing additional layers of precaution to further minimise the possibility of Covid-19 transmission onboard” by adjusting shipboard settings to allow for the maximum air changes per hour – and says that is now “twice what is recommended for land-based venues”.