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