COVID-19 Update

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) Asia statement:

CLIA and its cruise line members are responding to evolving circumstances swiftly and in consultation with governments and health authorities internationally in relation to COVID-19. As always, the health and safety of passengers and crew is the highest priority.

As some Asian countries have announced, arrivals by cruise ships will be suspended. Many cruise lines had also announced the voluntary suspensions of their operations. Guests who are booked on cruise itineraries which will be impacted by this decision are encouraged to contact their travel advisors or reach out to their cruise lines directly.

While we acknowledge these suspensions will cause inconvenience and disappointment to many, cruise lines are working around the clock to maintain a focus on the health and safety of passengers and crew.

This is an unprecedented situation, and we are conscious not only of the impact upon on guests but also on the destinations that cruise lines visit and the many businesses that depend upon cruise tourism. Despite challenging times, we are confident our industry has the resilience to overcome this situation in the longer term.

For details on CLIA’s Australia statement, please refer here.

For details on CLIA’s US statement, please refer here.

3 March 2020 [archive]

Given the evolving nature of the ongoing COVID-19 outbreak—and based upon prevailing guidance from global health authorities — CLIA ocean cruise line members have adopted the following enhanced protocols for guests and crew who have recently travelled from or through Iran, South Korea and China, including Hong Kong and Macau, and any municipality in Italy subject to lockdown (quarantine) measures by the Italian Government.

These enhanced policies, which came into effect as of 03 March 2020 AEST, build upon those which were first implemented on 31 January 2020 and continue to allow for informed decisions on a case-by-case basis whether a guest or crewmember will be permitted to board.

  • Boarding will be denied to all persons who have within 14 days before embarkation travelled from, visited or transited via airports in Iran, South Korea and China, including Hong Kong and Macau, and any municipality in Italy subject to lockdown (quarantine) measures by the Italian Government, as designated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs 
  • Preboarding screening will be conducted for all persons who have within 14 days before embarkation traveled from, visited or transited via airports in any destinations listed on the U.S. CDC “Coronavirus Disease 2019 Information for Travel” page. Illness screening includes symptom history checks for fever, cough and difficulty breathing in the 14 days before embarkation and taking of temperature.
  • Boarding will be denied to all persons who have within 14 days before embarkation had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having Coronavirus, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Preboarding screening will be conducted to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.

In coordination with cruise lines, medical experts and regulators around the world, CLIA and its member lines will continue to closely monitor for new developments related to the coronavirus and will modify these policies as necessary with the utmost consideration for the health and safety of passengers and crew.

The health and safety of passengers and crews is, and must remain, the top priority for the cruise industry. These measures, while more restrictive than our previously announced enhanced protocols enacted on 31 January, are intended to reflect the industry’s commitment to ensuring necessary precautions are in place as the situation continues to evolve.

This is an ongoing challenge for many sectors, including the cruise industry. However, it is important to note that cruise lines have extensive experience monitoring the health of passengers, providing care as needed, and responding as necessary to evolving circumstances. Individual cruise lines will be able to advise of their specific measures and matters that may relate to their own guests and operations.

Globally, the majority of cruise itineraries are continuing to operate as normal.  

As an industry we are working to reassure guests that right now, our number one priority is the health and safety of passengers and crew. This is undoubtedly a challenging moment for the entire travel industry—and one which is being taken very seriously by all. Cruise lines are constantly monitoring the situation as it rapidly develops and will continue to adapt, as needed, to provide for the needs of guests and crew.

How are cruise lines screening passengers for illness?  
CLIA cruise lines conduct passenger screenings—including, in some cases, non-touch temperature readings—where appropriate, for guests and crew who have recently travelled from or through the affected area consistent with prevailing guidance from global health authorities. Screening protocols allow for informed decisions on a case-by-case basis whether a guest or crewmember will be denied boarding.

What measures are in place onboard cruise ships in the event of passenger or crew illness?
Importantly, the cruise industry is one of the most well-equipped and experienced when it comes to managing and monitoring health conditions of passengers and crew. Cruise lines take precautions to conduct passive as well as active screening of passengers and crew for illness prior to boarding when circumstances demand. Furthermore, CLIA members implement outbreak prevention and response measures and their ships must be fitted with medical facilities, shipboard and shore side medical professionals available around the clock, 24/7, to provide initial medical care in the event of illness and prevent disease transmission.

Are cruise lines changing their itineraries due to Coronavirus ?
CLIA cruise lines are continually assessing and modifying policies and procedures as developments emerge. This includes the modification of itineraries, where needed, in light of evolving circumstances in some cases. Cruise passengers are encouraged to consult with individual cruise lines to be informed of the latest information available.

What reassurance do ports and destinations have that cruise ships are not increasing risk to their communities?

  • For communities welcoming cruise ships around this region important measures are in place. No cruise ships have travelled directly from China to this region and many of the vessels operating in this region have been in Australasian waters for some time. The majority of more than 270 cruise ships globally continue to sail unaffected, including within Australia and New Zealand – but with strict precautions in place:
  • CLIA ocean cruise lines have introduced stringent measures including pre-screening processes to determine a person’s travel and contact history.
  • They will deny boarding to anyone who may present an increased risk. No passengers or crew are permitted to board if they have come from or visited Iran, South Korea, China (including Hong Kong and Macau), and any municipality in Italy subject to lockdown (quarantine) measures by the Italian Government, as designated by the Ministry of Foreign Affairs in the 14 days before embarkation. 
  • These restrictions are in addition to those introduced by the regional Governments. 
  • Ships have medical facilities and medical professionals available around the clock to provide medical care in the event of illness and to prevent disease transmission. 
  • Cruise lines are in close consultation with health authorities around the world, including the including the World Health Organization, Australia’s Department of Health, New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, and regional health authorities.
  • Reporting procedures are in place to ensure Australia and New Zealand authorities are aware of any relevant illness prior to a ship’s arrival. 

What guidance are cruise ships following when making determinations regarding route restrictions?
CLIA and its member lines maintain close contact with leading global health authorities, and are also in contact with port authorities around the world to ensure alignment on guidance and procedures.

Are travellers entitled to a refund if they choose to cancel their cruise?
Prior to cancelling a cruise, travellers should always consult with their travel insurer and review the specific cancellation terms and conditions of the cruise line. If the cruise is operating, then in most cases the traveller would not be entitled to a refund. If the cruise has been impacted by a specific travel advisory, then travellers are encouraged to consult with individual cruise lines with regard to cancellation policies.

What steps can travellers take to protect themselves from Coronavirus?
Leading health authorities are urging the same personal best practices that are standard for a typical flu season, such as the following:

  • Avoid close contact with people who show signs of illness, including coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available

Where can you and your clients find additional information about Coronavirus?
Please visit the following websites for more information:

World Health Organization

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