Reacting to growing fears over the coronavirus outbreak and subsequent travel restrictions in Asia, many cruise lines have cancelled or changed their cruise itineraries.
The most obvious example is Princess Cruises, which has had to pull all of the itineraries scheduled for Diamond Princess due to the outbreak on board the ship.
On 12 February, Celebrity Cruises announced it was cancelling its 15 February sailing on Celebrity Millennium from Hong Kong, also changing Celebrity’s Constellation‘s current itinerary, with passengers now disembarking in Dubai.
Cunard also announced that Queen Mary 2 will be avoiding several ports in southeast Asia, including Singapore. Its current world cruise will instead sail directly to Fremantle, Australia.
CLIA members are taking proactive steps to protect the health of passengers and crew in light of the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.
Read our latest statement for more.https://t.co/JrIl7p4QYn
— CLIA UK & IRELAND (@CLIAUK) February 7, 2020
In light of the cancellations and changes, leading cruise industry body CLIA has issues advice to help passengers who have booked cruises.
“CLIA Cruise Lines are continually assessing and modifying policies and procedures as developments emerge,” reads the advice.
“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 and/or travel providers to be informed of the latest guidance available.”
If your cruise happens to be cancelled or amended, CLIA recommends it’s best to consult with individual cruise lines and/or travel providers to see what their compensation policies are.
For those cruises that aren’t cancelled, but are due to sail around Southeast Asia, there may be boarding restrictions imposed.
CLIA revealed that its cruise line members are denying embarkation to anyone who has travelled through or transited via airports in China, Hong Kong and Macau within 14 days of embarkation.
Before boarding the ship, CLIA members will also conduct passenger screenings, including non-touch temperature readings.
Addressing life on board the ship after embarkation, the advice reads: “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 ocean-going members implement outbreak prevention and response measures and their ships must be fitted with medical facilities and shipboard medical professionals available around the clock, 24/7, to provide initial medical care in the event of illness and to help prevent disease transmission.”
The virus, now officially known as Covid-19, has been causing chaos across the globe, with the number of confirmed cases at around 45,000 people worldwide.
Those worried about their cruise should contact their cruise line or head to the CLIA website for more information.