Cruises and the Coronavirus: What Passengers Need to Know – The New York Times

Posted: March 5, 2020 at 6:53 pm

Many, including Viking River Cruises, Norwegian, MSC Cruises, Silversea Cruises and Seabourn are letting people delay their sailings, cancel within days of a trip or substitute another passenger for the one originally booked (usually a no-no). Policies vary by company and even by scheduled sailing, so travelers should contact their travel agent or cruise company.

Those who do not meet the current health criteria for boarding can cancel with no penalty, but a doctors note or other proof may be required.

Ms. Fudge, the travel agent, said shes never seen this kind of relaxation of the rules in the cruise industry. I keep getting different notifications, extending final payment, allowing people to change dates, its all unprecedented, she said. Normally if you dont go you lose your money.

Member companies of the industry association CLIA are generally abiding by its evolving rules regarding who can and cant board one of their ships. Passengers and crew are to be kept on shore if they have visited or gone through airports in Iran, South Korea, mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau or parts of Italy within 14 days before embarkation; if they have cared for someone who has or might have Covid-19 disease; or if they have exhibited symptoms of the virus. Travelers turned away for these reasons will receive a full refund.

Royal Caribbean is one company going beyond the CLIA guidelines and denying boarding to any passenger who has come within six feet of anyone who has been in mainland China, Hong Kong, Macau, Iran, South Korea or Italy within the last 15 days. The company will be relying on passengers to be truthful about any close encounters.

To comply with these regulations, passengers are filling out health and travel questionnaires before they board. Cruise companies always screened passengers for health, but the questions are more specific now to the virus, said Ms. Shelton.

Preboarding temperature checks are also becoming more common.

Companies have been canceling some sailings, adjusting the itineraries of others, and in some cases moving to their next scheduled part of the globe a bit early. Seabourn, for example, canceled one cruise departing from Singapore, and replaced another ships Asian ports of call with Australian ones. Alaska cruises are expected to start up a bit earlier than usual for Viking and some other lines.

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Cruises and the Coronavirus: What Passengers Need to Know - The New York Times

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