Coronavirus Update – CLIA 12 February 2020


Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) is the world’s largest cruise association and is dedicated to the promotion and growth of the cruise industry. CLIA is composed of more than 60 of the world’s major cruise lines and serves as a non-governmental consultative organisation to the International Maritime Organization (IMO), an agency of the United Nations.

CLIA ocean cruise lines are required to follow a comprehensive set of operational and other policies as a condition of continued membership in CLIA. These policies often exceed international and national laws and regulations. The member policies cover a wide array of practices, including environmental protection, safety, security, medical care and passenger and crew health, and of course guest care. These policies are constantly reviewed and adapted to facilitate and promote best practices in the cruise industry. Each year every member line CEO must verify, in writing, that all of the CLIA member policies have been implemented. Implementation of the environmental, safety, security and medical policies is also annually certified, in writing, after independent third-party audit. These policies must also be included in every member line’s Safety Management System required by international law.

2019-Novel Coronavirus
Given the evolving nature of the ongoing 2019-novel coronavirus outbreak—and based upon prevailing guidance from global health authorities — CLIA ocean cruise line members have adopted the following enhanced protocols for guests and crew who have recently travelled from or through China, including Hong Kong and Macau.

These measures are intentionally conservative—in some cases going beyond what is done in other sectors, demonstrating that the industry’s highest priority is the health and safety of those onboard.

These enhanced policies, which came into effect as of 7 February 2020, build upon those which were implemented on 31 January 2020 and continue to allow for informed decisions on a case-by- case basis whether a guest or crewmember will be permitted to board.

  • Boarding will be denied to all persons who have travelled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days before embarkation.
  • Boarding will be denied to all persons who, within 14 days before embarkation, have had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having Coronavirus, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to Novel Coronavirus.
  • Preboarding screening will be conducted to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected Novel Coronavirus.

In coordination with cruise lines, medical experts and regulators around the world, CLIA and its member lines will continue to closely monitor for new developments related to the coronavirus and will modify these policies as necessary with the utmost consideration for the health and safety of passengers and crew.

The health and safety of passengers and crews is, and must remain, the top priority for the cruise industry. These measures, while conservative, and more restrictive than our previously announced enhanced protocols enacted on 31 January, are intended to reflect the industry’s commitment to ensuring necessary precautions are in place as the situation continues to evolve.

This is an ongoing challenge for many sectors, including the cruise industry. However, it is important to note that cruise lines have extensive experience monitoring the health of passengers, providing care as needed, and responding as necessary to evolving circumstances. Individual cruise lines will be able to advise of their specific measures and matters that may relate to their own guests and operations.

Globally, the majority of cruise itineraries are continuing to operate as normal.

As an industry we are working to reassure guests that right now, our number one priority is the health and safety of passengers and crew. This is undoubtedly a challenging moment for the entire travel industry—and one which is being taken very seriously by all. Cruise lines are constantly monitoring the situation as it rapidly develops and will continue to adapt, as needed, to provide for the needs of guests and crew.

How are cruise lines screening passengers for illness?

CLIA cruise lines conduct passenger screenings—including, in some cases, non-touch temperature readings—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.

As part of CLIA’s longstanding Health Policy that all embarking persons must be screened for communicable diseases, CLIA cruise lines adopted a first set of pre-screening protocols beginning on January 31, denying boarding to any persons who had travelled in or through mainland China within the 14 days prior to embarkation.

As the situation continued to evolve, CLIA members adopted more stringent measures to address the 2019-Novel Coronavirus. CLIA members now deny boarding to all persons who have travelled from, visited or transited via airports in China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days prior to embarkation.

The new Policy also calls for denial of boarding to anybody who, within 14 days prior to embarkation, has had close contact with or helped care for anyone diagnosed, suspected of or subject to monitoring for the 2019-Novel Coronavirus.

By the time passengers and crew have reached a cruise ship, they have in many cases gone through multiple screenings already, especially those traveling to meet their ships via plane.

To assist in implementation of the travel, contact and health screening for 2019-nCoV, CLIA has circulated to member cruise lines a Sample Traveler’s Health Declaration Questionnaire which can be used in conjunction with the cruise lines’ extensive experience in conducting pre-boarding health screening for guests and crew.

What measures are in place onboard cruise ships in the event of passenger or crew illness?

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 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.

Cruise lines retain medical experts onshore to monitor, advise and inform response procedures on an ongoing basis and in coordination with global health authorities and local governments at the destinations served.

CLIA members follow prevailing guidance from international and domestic health authorities, including the WHO. As appropriate, a person under investigation is isolated in the medical center or their cabin to limit potential transmission while additional medical response is initiated. Isolation precautions are followed to limit the potential for transmission, while ship medical staff liaise with appropriate health authorities.

How are cruise lines working with ports/destinations to mitigate risk?

CLIA members work closely with the ports and destinations in the regions within which they operate, including with health authorities. CLIA members track and report illness in accordance with international and national regulations so that port health authorities can make informed decisions.

CLIA members have robust Outbreak Prevention and Response Plans, including procedures to provide care for and isolate passengers or crew, as needed, to provide for the safety and health of all onboard. Based on these well-practiced procedures, necessary precautions are taken and ships should not be denied entry to port and guests who are well should not be prevented from going ashore.

What reassurances are there for communities in New Zealand being visited by cruise ships:

For communities welcoming cruise ships around New Zealand, there is no cause for concern and important measures are in place.

No CLIA cruise ships in New Zealand waters have travelled directly from China and many have been in Australia/New Zealand waters for some time.

CLIA cruise lines are not allowing passengers or crew on board if they have come from or travelled through China (including Hong Kong and Macau) in the 14 days before embarkation.

Additional screening measures are in place for passengers and crew prior to boarding, and cruise ships have outbreak prevention and response measures in place.

Medical facilities and medical professionals are available around the clock on board and cruise lines are in close contact with health authorities.

Are cruise lines changing their itineraries due to Coronavirus?

CLIA cruise lines are continually assessing and modifying policies and procedures as developments emerge. This includes the modification of itineraries, where needed, in light of evolving circumstances in some cases.

What guidance are cruise ships following when making determinations regarding route restrictions?

CLIA and its member lines maintain close contact with leading global health authorities, and are also in contact with port authorities around the world to ensure alignment on guidance and procedures.

What steps can travellers take to protect themselves from Coronavirus?

Leading health authorities are urging the same personal best practices that are standard for a typical flu season, such as the following:

  • Avoid close contact with people who show signs of illness, including coughing or sneezing
  • Avoid touching your eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands
  • Wash your hands often with soap and water for at least 20 seconds
  • Use alcohol-based hand sanitizer that contains at least 60% alcohol if soap and water are not available

Where can you find additional information about Coronavirus?

Please visit the following websites for more information:

Australian Government Department of Health
New Zealand Ministry of Health
World Health Organization

How do I contact CLIA?

Please visit or email

CLIA Stakeholder Update – Coronavirus 12.2.20

Jacqui Lloyd

Chief Executive Officer