CDC Says Defer Cruise Travel; Issues Report Inside the Princess Outbreak

Diamond Princess

A new CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevent) report recommends that travellers “defer all cruise travel worldwide” due to increased risk for coronavirus. The report is available here.

The report points out that coronavirus survived for 17 days on the Diamond Princess in an empty stateroom, and also outlines some 800 coronavirus cases between the Diamond and Grand Princess ships.

During the initial stages of the coronavirus, the Diamond Princess was the setting of the largest outbreak outside mainland China, according to the CDC.

“Cruise ships are often settings for outbreaks of infectious diseases because of their closed environment and contact between travellers from many countries,” said the CDC. “More than 800 cases of laboratory-confirmed COVID-19 cases occurred during outbreaks on three cruise ship voyages, and cases linked to several additional cruises have been reported across the United States. Transmission occurred across multiple voyages from ship to ship by crew members; both crew members and passengers were affected; 10 deaths associated with cruise ships have been reported to date.”

The report is available here.

U.S. State Dept. Issues Cruise Travel Warning

U.S. State Department Logo

The U.S. State Department has issued an updated travel warning for American citizens considering travel by cruise ship.

“U.S. citizens, particularly travellers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship,” the State Department has said in a statement posted to its website on Sunday, March 8.

“CDC notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment. In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, many countries have implemented strict screening procedures that have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking. In some cases, local authorities have permitted disembarkation but subjected passengers to local quarantine procedures. While the U.S. government has evacuated some cruise ship passengers in recent weeks, repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.

“This is a fluid situation. CDC notes that older adults and travellers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk for more severe disease. This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships.”

More than 300 passengers fall ill with suspected norovirus on Caribbean Princess

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At least 299 passengers and 22 crew members sailing on a Princess Cruises ship are believed to be suffering from suspected norovirus.

Caribbean Princess was refused entry to Trinidad & Tobago as a precautionary measure.

The ship was on a 14-day Caribbean sailing which departed on February 2.

It is now en route back to Port Everglades, Florida, and is scheduled to arrive Thursday morning.

The ship is carrying 4,196 guests and crew in total.

All guests are being offered a 50% refund and a future cruise credit.

The US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention said the ship will undergo a “super sanitation cleaning” in port on February 16.

It will then depart from Port Everglades for a round-trip Circle Caribbean cruise.

The line is also dealing with an outbreak of coronavirus onboard Diamond Princess in Japan, where 136 passengers have been diagnosed with the virus.

Meanwhile, on Monday, Saga Cruises confirmed at least 89 passengers on board Spirit of Discovery were suffering from suspected norovirus with guests showing symptoms including vomiting, diarrhoea and fever.

The authorities in Gibraltar refused the ship entry and it is now en route back to Southampton.

A Princess Cruises spokesperson said: “Caribbean Princess, which had been on a 14-day cruise in the Caribbean, has curtailed its current voyage due to guests reporting symptoms consistent with a mild case of gastrointestinal illness.

“The affected guests are being treated by the onboard medical team and there are no cases of coronavirus identified among guests or crew.

“The ship, with 4,196 guests and crew, is now sailing back to the Port of Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, and is scheduled to arrive at Port Everglades at 7:00am on Thursday, February 13.

“This is a highly unusual development and we share the disappointment of our guests. However, the health and safety of our guests and crew is our top priority, and we have worked alongside the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to make this decision.

“All guests will receive a 50% refund on their voyage and a future cruise credit valued at 50% of their cruise for this inconvenience.

“Caribbean Princess will resume its schedule with a February 16 departure from Port Everglades for a round-trip Circle Caribbean cruise.”