Coronavirus: Cruise lines clamp down on China carryings


Bund area of Shanghai photo credit Dave Jones

Cruise lines will deny boarding to passengers and crew who have recently been in China as cases of deadly coronavirus grew.

More than 17,000 cases of the virus have been confirmed and 361 deaths in mainland China alone.

There are more than 150 confirmed cases outside China, including two in the UK, with the first death reported in the Philippines.

More: Coronavirus outbreak updates [Jan 27]

Royal Caribbean and MSC cancel sailings over coronavirus fears

British Airways cancels flights as travel firms respond to China travel warning

Cruise trade body Clia announced the clampdown on Friday, denying boarding to those passengers or crew who have travelled from or through mainland China in the previous 14 days.

A number of cruise ships have already cancelled China sailings and altered Asia itineraries, including departures from Shanghai.

The association said: “Clia and its member lines maintain close contact with health professionals and regulators around the world, including the World Health Organisation, and are continually assessing and modifying policies and procedures as developments emerge.

“This includes the modification of itineraries, where needed, in light of evolving circumstances, as well as health, travel and contact screening where appropriate, for guests and crew who have recently travelled from or through the affected area consistent with prevailing guidance from global health authorities.

“Screening protocols allow for informed decisions on a case-by-case basis whether a guest or crewmember will be denied boarding.

“Clia members have suspended crew movements from mainland China and will deny boarding to any individual, whether guest or crew, who has travelled from or through mainland China within the previous 14 days.

“Importantly, the cruise industry is one of the most well-equipped and experienced when it comes to managing and monitoring health conditions of passengers and crew.

“Cruise lines take precautions to conduct passive as well as the active screening of passengers and crew for illness prior to boarding when circumstances demand.

“Furthermore, Clia members implement outbreak prevention and response measures and their ships must be fitted with medical facilities, shipboard and shore side medical professionals available around the clock, 24/7, to provide initial medical care in the event of illness and prevent disease transmission.”

New Zealand tragedy: Royal Caribbean issues hotline numbers

Image result for new zealand volcano

The death toll from the White Island volcanic eruption in New Zealand rose overnight while two British women are among the injured.

As many as 13 people are presumed to have died, including eight still missing on White Island.

Thirty-eight of the tourists visiting the island when disaster struck at 2.11pm local time on Monday were reported to be passengers and crew from Royal Caribbean International ship Ovation of the Seas.

Police said a total of 47 people had been on the island – a popular tourist attraction – at the time.

There were 24 visitors from Australia, nine from the US, five from New Zealand, four from Germany, two from China and one person from Malaysia.

A total of 27 people were taken to hospital with burns to a third of their bodies. Others are also suffering from inhalation burns.

Two British women were among those receiving treatment, according to Laura Clarke, the UK High Commissioner to New Zealand.

Royal Caribbean set up hotlines, including 0800-014-8339 in the UK, for those concerned about relatives travelling onboard Ovation of the Seas.

Australian Prime Minister Scott Morrison said he “feared” three of the five confirmed dead were from Australia.

He said that 24 Australians were from a cruise ship exploring the island in the Bay of Plenty when the volcano erupted. Of those, 13 people had been hospitalised and 11 were unaccounted for, he added.

There were two groups on the island at the time, “those who were able to be evacuated and those who were close to the eruption,” according to New Zealand prime minister Jacinda Ardern.

Some survivors were rescued by boat in the immediate aftermath, but police said it was too dangerous to mount a rescue operation.

Helicopter rescue flights later picked up several people from the privately-owned island, 30 miles off the coast of New Zealand’s North Island.

Ovation of the Seas had been docked at Tauranga, a coastal city near White Island.

Royal Caribbean said: “The news from White Island is devastating. The details that are emerging are heartbreaking.

“We are working to help our guests and the authorities in the aftermath of this tragedy in any way we can.

“We are communicating with our guests and their families. We’re making sure they are taken care of in terms of medical help, counselling, accommodations, and transport. Our hearts go out to them, and we want to be as supportive as we can.

“Staff from our Sydney and Auckland offices office are already on-site, and we’re going to be offering all our resources while this terrible tragedy sorts out.

“We are grateful for the work of all the first responders and medical personnel. We also thank the prime minister and her team, the local authorities and everyone who has reached out to help with their kind thoughts and prayers.”

Ovation of the Seas was on a 12-day itinerary which left Sydney last Wednesday.

White Island or Whakaari is one of New Zealand’s most active volcanoes yet attracts frequent day trips and scenic flights.

In updated travel advice, the FCO said: “The Whakaari/White Island volcano erupted on 9 December. Emergency response is underway. If you are travelling in the area, you should follow the advice of the local authorities and/or your tour operator.

“If you’ve been affected by the incident and need urgent consular assistance, you should contact the British High Commission in Wellington on +64 (0) 4 924 2888.

“If you are in the UK and you’re concerned about friends or relatives in the area, you should contact the FCO in London on 020 7008 1500.”

Around 200,000 British nationals visit New Zealand every year.

Royal Caribbean Announces Three Ships For 2021 Alaska Program

Ovation of the Seas Alaska

Royal Caribbean International has announced that it will have three ships in Alaska in 2021.

The Ovation, Radiance and Serenade of the Seas are returning to the Pacific Northwest

For the second consecutive year, Royal Caribbean will bring three ships to the region, offering a variety of seven-night itineraries sailing from Seattle, Vancouver, and Seward.

The Ovation will be the largest ship in the market. The Quantum-class ship’s series of seven-night cruises are roundtrip from Seattle. The Radiance is set to embark on seven-night, open-jaw itineraries between Seward and Vancouver, and the Serenade will be sailing seven days roundtrip from Vancouver.

Before and after the Alaska season, the Serenade and Radiance will sail 10-night itineraries between Honolulu and Vancouver.

All three ships will debut Royal Caribbean’s spa staterooms. According to the cruise line, the brand-new lineup of balcony accommodations “will allow guests to relax in between adventures with an array of amenities and perks, including priority spa reservations, lush bedding and bath products, tranquil décor, daily delivery of tea, water and coffee; and priority boarding at embarkation.”

For the Ovation, the seven-night itineraries roundtrip from Seattle promises to visit “the best of the region,” including Skagway, where vacationers can retrace the steps of the historic Klondike Gold Rush and visit a restored 19th-century railroad depot; and Juneau, to go dogsledding over the Mendenhall Glacier or explore centuries-old mining trails.

The Radiance will offer alternating southbound and northbound seven-night itineraries between Vancouver and Seward. Guests will have the opportunity to visit Icy Strait Point, Sitka and Skagway, and sail through the Inside Passage and by the Hubbard Glacier.

The Serenade, returning for a second Alaska summer season, will offer seven-night roundtrip sailings from Vancouver and visit Ketchikan, Skagway, Sitka and Juneau.

Royal Caribbean also offers overnight stays before or after the cruise with three- to seven-night Cruisetour packages. Travellers will be able to visit the Denali National Park and Preserve with local experts, hike the Exit Glacier, kayak and bike by Eklutna Lake, and more.