Coronavirus and international cruises – DFAT Advisory

Hello Ship-ees. DFAT, the Australian Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade, has just issue the following advisory. A close read is recommended.

‘The cruise industry has put strong measures in place for the health and safety of passengers.  All passengers and crew are screened before they board. Cruise lines will deny boarding to anyone who has visited or transited the most affected countries (China, including Hong Kong and Macau, Iran, South Korea and the most affected municipalities in Italy) in the 14 days before embarkation. Some itineraries have changed. Expect more, and check with your cruise operator.
Australians, particularly those with underlying health concerns should reconsider taking an overseas cruise at this time due to COVID-19. If in doubt, consult a medical professional before travelling.
There have been instances of cruise ships being put into quarantine, countries preventing disembarkation of ships or denying entry to ports. The itineraries of a number of cruise ships have changed. Disruptions to cruise ship itineraries due to COVID-19 can have significant consequences for travellers. The situation is fluid and you can expect further disruptions.
Repatriation from cruise ships affected by COVID-19 should not be relied upon as an option.
If, despite our advice, you proceed with your cruise and you’re concerned about the impact of the COVID-19 outbreak on your plans, check with your travel agent or cruise company and read and subscribe to our travel advisories for your destinations, including transit locations.
See also the Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) Australasia’s policies to prevent the spread of the virus, which all CLIA ocean member cruise lines are required to implement.
On 9 March 2020, the US State Department issued a bulletin advising US citizens, particularly those with underlying health conditions, not to travel by cruise ship. It advises that the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has noted an increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment. The CDC notes that older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk for more severe disease. This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.
Be prepared for possible changes to itineraries. If you take medication, ensure you have enough with you for any delays.
The below has been sent to all Australians on cruise ships in the Asia-Pacific region. The advice remains current.
  • Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) Australasia has adopted an enhanced CLIA member health policy which all CLIA ocean member cruise lines are required to follow to address the coronavirus.
  • The Department of Foreign Affairs and Trade is working closely with the cruise line industry.
  • If you have any health concerns, including access to your medication, speak to your cruise ship in the first instance.
  • If required, you can contact DFAT’s Consular Emergency Centre on 1300 555 135 from Australia or on +61 6261 3305 from overseas.
  • The Australian Department of Health is providing regular updates on the coronavirus.
  • For information on returning to Australia, please see the Australian Border Force website.
  • For information on your cruise destinations, including transit destinations, see the travel advice for your destinations and subscribe for updates.’