Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has released a statement on the State Department’s new advisory regarding cruise travel to Asia during the coronavirus outbreak, which the organization released last week.
“The enhanced screening procedures that the cruise industry put in place several weeks ago are consistent with the advice to cruise passengers from the United States Government,” CLIA said. “Additionally, the cruise industry has, in large part, halted or amended operations in and around East Asia. These precautionary measures have enabled cruise operations to continue as usual in other parts of the world, including Australia, New Zealand and the South Pacific.”
“Travelers should know that the health and safety of passengers and crew is the number one priority for CLIA cruise line members,” CLIA said. “CLIA and its cruise line members will continue to monitor the evolving situation closely and adapt their policies and procedures as needed to help ensure the health and safety of those onboard.”
CLIA also encouraged travelers to consult with their individual cruise lines for the latest information on their specific itineraries.
Last week the State Department updated its advisory regarding the novel coronavirus to recommend U.S. citizens reconsider travel by cruise ship to or within Asia. The State Department also said that travelers traveling by cruise ship anywhere should be aware that many countries have implemented strict screening procedures in order to prevent the spread of the virus.
“This is a dynamic situation and U.S. citizens traveling by ship may be impacted by travel restrictions affecting their itineraries or ability to disembark, or may be subject to quarantine procedures implemented by the local authorities,” the State Department advisory read. “While the U.S. government has successfully evacuated hundreds of our citizens in the previous weeks, repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.”
Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess was put under quarantine in early February in Yokohama, Japan, due to an outbreak of coronavirus onboard. That quarantine ended and guests were able to begin disembarking this week. Holland America Line’s Westerdam was not quarantined, but it was turned away from several disembarkation ports while sailing a 14-day itinerary out of Hong Kong. That ship was allowed to dock in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, and passengers were able to disembark the ship this week. In both cases the cruise lines assisted with arrangements for their guests to travel home.
According to the latest situation report from the World Health Organization (WHO), there are over 78,800 cases of the coronavirus, officially named COVID-19, in 29 countries worldwide. There have been 2,462 people killed by the illness thus far, 17 of whom were outside of China.