UPDDATE :Editor’s Note: This article was published on February 26, 2020. Click here for the latest Coronavirus news and cruise updates.
Everyone is discussing the issue of Coronavirus and what cruise lines were doing to prevent the virus from entering a ship’s ecosystem to ensure passenger health and safety. While COVID-19 has spread to other parts of the world, it remains isolated in the cruise industry to passengers who sailed on board Diamond Princess and Holland America Line’s Westerdam. All other ships and lines have remained virus-free.
Cruise lines are now taking even further precautions to ensure their ships remain free from the virus by cancelling cruises throughout Asia by the dozens. Each major cruise line has cancelled or altered ship itineraries to steer clear of countries where the virus is present and ensure those who may potentially be sick are not allowed on board in the first place.
U.S. State Department Discourages Travel to China
The U.S. Department of State has declared a Level 4 “Do Not Travel” warning for China and urges any Americans in the country to take necessary precautions to curb the spread of COVID-19. They included a special warning for cruise passengers to reconsider cruising to the region until further notice. It’s not just the cruise industry dealing with the issue, either. The 2020 Olympics in Tokyo are currently scheduled to continue, but rumors are swirling that the event could be cancelled entirely if the outbreak continues to spread.
RELATED: Will Coronavirus Cancel my Cruise?
While the disease was primarily in Wuhan, China, new cases in Italy and South Korea have developed and cruise lines have adjusted accordingly. Major lines are now denying boarding to any guests having previously travelled from, to or through mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Iran, South Korea, and the Italian regions of Lombardy and Veneto in the past 15 days. If you’ve even come in contact with someone from those areas, then boarding will also be denied. Anyone exhibiting symptoms of fever or low blood oximetry (low levels of oxygen in the blood) will be denied boarding as well.
Cruise Lines International Association, the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, has released numerous statements helping to control the spread of misinformation and clearly outlining what the industry is doing to fight back against the spread of COVID-19.
In a statement, the association outlined that no industry is better equipped to handle the current situation:
“The cruise industry is one of the most well-equipped and experienced when it comes to managing and monitoring health conditions of those onboard, with outbreak prevention and response measures in place year-round.”
In a graphic posted to Twitter, CLIA explained that cruisers are subject to numerous screenings prior to boarding their ship, greatly decreasing the likelihood someone who is sick will be allowed on board.
Cancelled Cruises Due to Coronavirus
Cunard Line has altered sailings for the Queen Mary 2, which was set to port in Singapore and Ho Chi Min City, Vietnam. The ship will skip those ports and continue their previously scheduled itinerary directly to Australia. Queen Elizabeth will also skip Asian ports for the coming months, opting for an extended stay in the waters around Australia.
Princess Cruises has cancelled more than 20 cruises on board Sapphire Princess which was set to sail round-trip voyages from Shanghai from July to October 2020.
Costa cancelled February cruises for all four ships based in Asia: Costa Serena, Costa Atlantica, Costa Venezia and Costa neoRomantic. No news yet on when or where those ships are headed instead.
Carnival Cruise Line announced that Carnival Splendor and Carnival Spirit skipped its scheduled ports in Asia, stopping instead in Vanuatu.
Celebrity Millennium, which was scheduled to sail Asia in 2020, is being repositioned to the West Coast of the United States instead. If you were booked on Millennium, cruisers received a refund and a 25% credit for a future cruise with the line. Celebrity also altered the course for Celebrity Constellation, which was scheduled for sailings between Dubai and Singapore. The ship will now sail from Dubai to three ports in India instead.
There are dozens of other cruise lines with ships in Asia and for the most part, cruises leaving from Asian ports are cancelled and cruises with stops in those ports are being diverted elsewhere. If you’re booked on a cruise to Asia in the coming months, it’s important to contact your cruise line to get the most up to date information about your sailing.
Are you booked on a cruise that’s been cancelled or altered? Let us know in the comments below!