Cruise Safety and the Coronavirus

Earlier this month, the cruise industry announced it would extend the suspension of voyages in U.S. waters through October 31, an entire month past the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) “No Sail Order” for cruise ships that expires September 30, 2020.

The additional time will allow the industry to work with outside experts to develop enhanced public health protocols, according to Cruise Lines International Association, the major trade organization for oceangoing cruise lines.

Cruise lines had started to resume some operations in other parts of the world with new precautions in place, but unfortunately, the coronavirus thwarted a smooth reopening and put operations back on hold.

According to CDC data from March 1 through July 10, 2020, there were 2,973 COVID-19 or COVID-like illness cases on cruise ships and an additional 34 deaths. These cases stem from 99 outbreaks on 123 individual cruise ships. During this period, 80 percent of cruise ships were affected by the coronavirus.

Avoiding Illness Onboard

Many of us are eager to get back to a new normal, including traveling. Cruises offer exciting vacation options in convenient packages. When cruise lines do begin to reopen operations in the U.S. there are a number of safety considerations to make before booking your trip.

Cruise lines have experience battling illness onboard, most notably with the norovirus, and have put in place strict safety measures to keep passengers safe. However, the coronavirus is creating new challenges, and it is important to keep health safety basics in mind when traveling with a large group of people, whether by sea or air.

Remember these safety precautions when traveling:

  • Wash your hands. Wash your hands frequently, especially after touching surfaces like railings or doors.
  • Sneeze into a tissue or your elbow. Keep others safe by covering your sneeze with a disposable tissue or into your elbow, if needed.
  • Reconsider traveling if you have an underlying illness. Experts advise postponing your trip until a safer time if you have been diagnosed with an underlying health condition or are recovering from a recent illness. Talk to your doctor ahead of time for advice.
  • Purchase travel insurance. Travel insurance through third-party vendors can be more robust regarding sickness coverage.
  • Do your research. Check the CDC’s Vessel Sanitation Program for health and safety information specific to the ship you will be traveling on.

It is cruise lines’ responsibility to keep their passengers safe, this includes taking all of the proper precautions against spreading serious illness onboard. If you suffer injuries on a cruise ship due to the negligence of someone else or the cruise ship operator, our team may be able to help. Call us with any questions at (305) 662-6178.

 

Sources:

Hines (2020, August 5). Exclusive: Cruise industry extends sailing suspension past CDC ‘no-sail’ order, until Oct. 31. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2020/08/05/us-cruise-industry-extends-covid-19-suspension-until-oct-31/3296043001/

Oliver, M. Hines, H. Yasharoff (2020, August 5). COVID-19: SeaDream joins other cruise lines impacted by virus after resuming sailing. Retrieved from https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2020/08/04/hurtigruten-cruise-norway-ship-passengers-have-covid-19-paul-gauguin/5579738002/

Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) (2020, July 16). Cruise ship No Sail Order extended through September 2020. Retrieved from

https://www.cdc.gov/media/releases/2020/s0716-cruise-ship-no-sail-order.html