Cruise lines on Thursday implemented stringent coronavirus screenings as the World Health Organization declared the outbreak a global health emergency.  

MSC Cruises and the RCCL brands (Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Azamara) will deny boarding to anyone who has traveled from or visited mainland China in the past 30 days and 15 days, respectively. 

Before they can board, RCCL will require secondary health screenings for passengers who have been in contact with individuals who have traveled to or through mainland China or Hong Kong in the past 15 days, holders of China or Hong Kong passports, and guests “who report feeling unwell or demonstrate any flu-like symptoms.” 

Before boarding, all MSC passengers will have to fill out a questionnaire asking about previous China travel. All MSC passengers and crew will undergo mandatory, non-touch thermal scans on every ship around the world.

Both MSC and RCCL said that any guests or crew with a fever will be denied boarding. MSC additionally said that anyone who has chills, cough or difficulty breathing will also be denied embarkation.

Norwegian Cruise Line earlier this week said that passengers who in the last 30 days have visited the epicenter of the virus, Wuhan and the Hubei province, would not be allowed to board any of its vessels. 

MSC and RCCL are also doing enhanced ship sanitation. 

The moves follow Carnival Corp.’s decision earlier this week to conduct pre-boarding health reporting for all guests on all of its brands’ ships, temperature and questionnaire screening for persons from affected areas, and denying boarding to any passengers with fever.

“These steps are intentionally conservative,” RCCL said in a statement. “We apologize that they will inconvenience some of our guests, but we have a responsibility to play our part in reducing the spread of coronavirus.”

RCCL said it has canceled all sailings from China and calls into Hong Kong through mid-February.


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