As the coronavirus continues to wreak havoc across the world, many cruise lines have made the decision to cancel their itineraries. Among these is Royal Caribbean, which has suspended sailings from Shanghai due to spreading fears over the outbreak.
“In light of the latest developments with the coronavirus outbreak in China, we are suspending the 27 January and 31 January sailings of Spectrum of the Seas, currently our only ship homeported in China,” said a Royal Caribbean spokesperson.
“We are working with our guests to provide full refunds for the cancellation. The health and safety of our guests and crew is our primary concern, and we continue to work with the World Health Organisation, the Centers for Disease Control, and government health authorities to monitor the situation.”
Following in Royal Caribbean’s footsteps, MSC Cruises also announced that it has cancelled MSC Splendida’s upcoming cruise from China, due to depart on 28 January.
An MSC spokesman said: “Due to urgent guidelines from the Chinese government to combat the spread of the coronavirus, MSC Cruises is required to cancel the upcoming cruise with MSC Splendida on 28 January.
“Guests booked on this cruise have the option to receive a full refund of their cruise ticket and port charges, or book an alternative sailing with an equivalent price and receiving additional onboard credit – with an embarkation date before the end of the year.
“At the time of writing, MSC Splendida is planned to remain in port for the duration of the cruise from 28 January until 1 February.
“We will continue to closely monitor the public health and safety situation in China and are consulting with international and local health authorities, as well as the ministry of transport of the People’s Republic of China, and strictly follow their advice and recommendations.
“Guests and travel partners have been informed and will be kept abreast of any further changes as the situation evolves.”
Last week, Norwegian Cruise lines also announced that it had introduced non-touch temperature screenings for all passengers boarding ships from Chinese ports to avoid the spread of infection on ships.
“The safety, security and well-being of our guests and crew is our number one priority. As such, due to the growing concern regarding coronavirus infections in China, we are implementing non-touch temperature screenings for all passengers embarking from Chinese ports,” said a spokesperson at Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd.
“Guests who register a body temperature screening of 100.4°F or 38°C or higher will not be allowed to board and will be directed to seek local medical treatment.”
The number of cases confirmed across China has now reached 2,800 and the death toll stands at 80 people. The virus has also been detected outside China in the US, Australia, South Korea, Taiwan, Thailand, Vietnam, Singapore, Japan, South Korea, Nepal, France and Malaysia.
Last week, a total ban was imposed by Wuhan officials, with no planes or trains leaving the region and all local public transport suspended. Citizens have been ordered not to leave unless there are “special conditions”.
Leading travel association ABTA advises travellers planning on visiting the country to read the Foreign & Commonwealth Office travel advice for China, which includes a link to TravelHealthPro, which provides specific travel health advice for countries.
For the latest Coronavirus travel and safety information, visit the FOC website.