Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines announced Friday that Royal Caribbean and Norwegian Cruise Lines will ban passengers holding passports from China, Hong Kong or Macau “until further notice” due to the outbreak of the coronavirus, according tomedia. Norwegian Cruise Line told The Verge that it also prohibits crew members and staff who carry any of these passports.
In addition, Royal Caribbean Cruises said that “passengers or crew members who have travelled in mainland China, Hong Kong, China or Macau in the past 15 days, or who have been in contact with such persons within the same time, regardless of nationality”. Carnival Cruise Lines reportedly followed similar guidelines developed by the Cruise Industry Trade Organization, but did not immediately respond to a request for comment. Norwegian Cruise Lines has further expanded its journey, saying that guests or crew members who have had a history of such travel in the past 30 days will not be allowed to board.
In the past few days, at least three cruise ships have experienced a coronavirus outbreak or panic, two of which have been quarantined. On Friday, 27 Chinese citizens were screened for the coronavirus on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship Anthem of the Seas in Bayonne, New Jersey, the new governor’s office said Friday. Four of the passengers were taken to local hospitals for further observation and no cases of the coronavirus have been confirmed.
The new “Anthem of the Seas” tour, which was supposed to start on Saturday, has now been postponed. Royal Caribbean Cruises will offer a “one-day refund” to passengers “in the form of credit” and will receive credit on a pro-rata basis if they have purchased any package in advance, such as drinks or meals. Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines did not immediately respond to questions about their activities for customers who were banned but had previously arranged travel.
So far, passengers on the Anthem of the Seas cruise have been better off than those on the Carnival Diamond Princess, which is now quarantined off the coast of Yokohama, Japan, until February 19 after 61 cases of the new coronavirus were confirmed. The third cruise ship owned by the tourism arm of the Malaysian group Genting Group has been quarantined after at least eight cases of the coronavirus were confirmed.