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Yesterday, Cruise Lines International Organization (CLIA) announced that all international cruise lines would deny boarding to anyone who has been to mainland China in the past 14 days due to the coronavirus. Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and other cruise lines implemented additional screening questions on their pre-boarding health questionnaires.
Because of the coronavirus, 6000 passengers were quarantined on an Italian cruise ship earlier this week (which has since been cleared). And, other cruise lines have changed their itineraries to avoid the outbreak.
Last night, The Bahamas announced it is denying debarkation for anyone who has been to China in the last 20 days. See this post on the Disney Cruise Line Blog. This affects not only Freeport and Nassau, but also many cruise line private islands like Castaway Cay and CocoCay.
So it seems that the cruise industry has this situation all under control. Or does it?
The Problem with Cruise Line Coronavirus Restrictions
I’m glad that cruise lines are taking these precautions to prevent the spread of the coronavirus. I know how easy it is to get sick on a cruise ship with so many people enclosed in small spaces (see my recent post).
But, the problem is that closed-loop cruises do not require a passport. Cruisers can bring a birth certificate and photo ID for these cruises that start and end at the same port. So, since many folks do not bring passports, it will be difficult for cruise lines to really determine who has been to China in the past 14-20 days.
The health questionnaires rely on people to be honest and self-report their symptoms and past travel. Hopefully, the vast majority of people are honest on these questionnaires. But, I know that some are not.
I understand why people wouldn’t want to reveal everything on those questionnaires. After all, a cruise is a large expense. Many people don’t get travel insurance. If your kid spikes a fever the night before, you might be denied boarding. Without travel insurance, cruise lines don’t owe you a refund. So, some folks may give their kid Tylenol, board the cruise and hope for the best.
Should You Avoid Cruising During the Coronavirus Scare?
Personally, I wouldn’t avoid cruising due to the coronavirus. After all, the flu is a bigger health threat, and people cruise during flu season all the time.
But, if the virus were to become much more widespread, going on a cruise would certainly give me pause.
What do you think of these new cruise restrictions? Do you think people are usually honest on the pre-boarding health questionnaires?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.