Cruise line operator Royal Caribbean is seeking a trademark for face masks that could be used for "virus isolation purposes," according to an application with the U.S. Patent and Trademark Office. The name of the proposed item: "Seaface."
"This is one in a number of innovations that our teams are exploring as we look forward to a safe, healthy and fun return to cruise," a Royal Caribbean spokesman said in a statement.
It's unclear what the masks would look like or how they might differ from other masks.
The trademark application, filed April 8, comes as the cruise industry grapples with the impact of the coronavirus pandemic, which has led to a "no sail" order from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Cruise line bookings have plunged during the virus outbreak and crushed industry players' financial results. Lawsuits have also alleged some cruise companies put customers at risk this past winter by sailing amid an emerging pandemic.
Because cruise ship passengers and crew are in close quarters, vessels "facilitate transmission of COVID-19," the CDC said in its order. It noted that because most cruise ship passengers are older than 50, many are at higher risk for serious health complications from the coronavirus disease.
The cruise industry is expected to develop new protocols to lower the risk of infections on ships as the global travel and vacation industry adapts to life in the coronavirus era, according to the travel site The Points Guy.
The website notes that two Asian cruise lines have already said they'll stop serving buffets when they resume traveling. Social distancing guidelines also may be enforced, limiting the number of passengers on a ship or in certain areas of a ship, the site noted.
The U.S. trademark office will assign an examining attorney about three months after the application was filed, according to the document.