New York (CNN Business) Royal Caribbean normally encourages cruise passengers to drop off their bags, board the boat and escape to enjoy their holidays. All of this has changed since the outbreak of the coronavirus.
Frightened by the deadly disease, cruise lines around the world are imposing extraordinary measures to curb their spread, from taking the temperature of passengers before boarding to denying entry to people who have recently visited China. These fears have been fully exposed in the past two weeks, with at least three cruise ships being quarantined after some passengers have shown symptoms.
As of Friday morning, the coronavirus had killed 638 people, mainly in China. There have been 31,479 confirmed cases worldwide, with over 31,100 in China alone.
More than 30 million people are expected to sail this year, according to the International Cruise Lines Association. If you are one of them, this is what you can expect.
They will refuse you if you have been to China recently
Miami-based Royal Caribbean (RCL) is rejecting passengers and crew members who have been to mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau in the 15 days prior to their trip, according to a statement on the signature’s website.
Swiss company MSC Cruises denies boarding to passengers who have been to mainland China in the past 30 days, according to a February 4 statement on its website. All guests must complete a questionnaire before boarding.
Carnival Corporation (CCL) has taken similar measures, banning passengers who have been to China, Hong Kong or Macau for the previous 14 days.
Meanwhile, Norwegian Cruise Lines has banned guests and crew who were in China, Hong Kong and Macau 30 days before their cruise trip, a spokesman said on Wednesday. The cruise will refund passengers showing proof of travel.
Royal Caribbean is conducting indefinite “additional assessments” of anyone with a Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passport, regardless of when they visited the latter regions. People who have been in contact with someone who has been in those areas for the past 15 days, as well as anyone with flu-like symptoms, will also be subject to more stringent checks.
MSC Cruises checks everyone’s temperature before boarding. Anyone with symptoms, such as fever, chills, coughing or shortness of breath, cannot go on.
Norwegian is also monitoring all passengers and carrying out further checks on people who appear to be sick. Anyone with symptoms of a respiratory disease could be quarantined and potentially landed, the spokesman added.
You may be in quarantine
Last week, 7,000 passengers on a Carnival owned Costa Crociere ship were detained on board in Italy after a passenger showed symptoms. On Wednesday, a cruise of the company’s Diamond Princess line was anchored near Tokyo with 1,045 crew members and 2,666 passengers for the same reason, and on Friday it was confirmed that 11 Americans on board had tested coronavirus positive.
You can’t go to China
Royal Caribbean canceled eight trips to China until March 4 on its Spectrum of the Seas, the only cruise ship with a home port in the country, a spokesman said Wednesday. The airline will give full refunds to passengers.
The Norwegian has changed some routes and does not sail to mainland China. Trips that will stop in the country over the next six months are under review.
A Carnival spokesman said the company canceled voyages out of China on its Costa line until February and suspended the next Diamond Princess navigation, which according to its website is sailing to and from Hong Kong.