• Write a Review
  • Boards
  • Log In
  • Find a Cruise
  • Deals
  • Excursions
  • More
You may also like
Coronavirus: What Cruisers Need to Know
Coronavirus: What Cruisers Need to Know (Photo: shaneinsweden/Shutterstock)

Coronavirus: What Cruisers Need to Know

Coronavirus: What Cruisers Need to Know
Coronavirus: What Cruisers Need to Know (Photo: shaneinsweden/Shutterstock)

April 14, 2020

Cruise Critic
By Cruise Critic
  • Facebook
  • Pinterest
  • Twitter
In light of the worldwide pandemic of novel coronavirus, Cruise Critic answers some of the questions travelers have. Read on to learn about what the virus is, how cruise lines are handling the unfolding situation, where it's safe to visit and whether travel insurance will cover you if you cancel.

What is coronavirus?

The outbreak of the deadly virus known as the novel coronavirus (or COVID-19) has been traced to a market in Wuhan, China. There have been nearly 2 million cases of the respiratory illness identified worldwide, across six continents and more than 180 countries.
The World Health Organization (WHO) has declared the outbreak a pandemic and a public health emergency of international concern.

Which countries are affected?

The novel coronavirus has now been identified in more than 180 countries and the CDC has implemented a Level 3 global warning -- meaning that travelers should avoid
non-essential travel, both in and outside of the United States.
On March 17, in an unprecedented move, the European Union and its 26 member countries closed its borders for 30 days to all non-EU nationals from visiting the bloc (except long-term residents, family members of EU nationals and diplomats, cross-border and healthcare workers, and people transporting goods).

What are the symptoms?

Symptoms include fever, cough, respiratory infection and shortness of breath. According to the CDC, the symptoms may occur two days to more than three weeks after exposure. Not all cases of coronavirus are severe, and some people with the virus might not even know they have it.

How does it spread?

According to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC), it is believed the spread of the virus is mostly through close contact, specifically "respiratory droplets produced when an infected person coughs or sneezes, similar to how influenza and other respiratory pathogens spread."

Have there been any cases on cruise ships?

Yes, passengers infected with Covid-19 have been confirmed on at least a dozen cruise ships, with some ships having large outbreaks.

What are cruise lines doing about it?

All cruise lines have
temporarily suspended their cruise seasons
, and are creating robust plans to protect passengers and crew once cruises start up again.
In order to start sailing in the U.S. during the coronavirus pandemic, the CDC is requiring cruise lines to create policies that cover everything from onboard monitoring of COVID-19 or flu-like illnesses, laboratory sampling and testing, onboard mitigation and prevention strategies to daily and weekly reporting, disinfection protocols, onboard hospital-level emergency-care facilities, personal protective equipment, crew training and repatriation of foreign nationals.

Should I cancel my cruise?

All cruises have been canceled at this time, with most saying they will return to service anytime between May and August. Here is a full list of
when lines are expected to resume service
, subject to global factors.
Most cruise lines have introduced
highly flexible cancellation and modification policies
allowing you to make changes right up to the day before departure.
For those looking to their government for advice on whether to consider a cruise, the U.S. Department of State
has issued recommendations
to United States citizens regarding cruises.
The British Foreign & Commonwealth Office
issued its own recommendations
for British citizens, and the Australian government has also issued its own
recommendations for overseas cruises

How will I be affected on my cruise?

No cruises are operating at this time, however, you can expect new requirements once cruising resumes. Additionally, when cruise lines do return to sailing past cruisers can expect to see changes onboard. Asia-based Genting Cruise Lines' released a
new set of health protocols that might point to the future of global cruising

I have an upcoming cruise, and I’m concerned about coronavirus. Should I still buy travel insurance?

Travel insurance companies are continuing to update their position statement in regards to this dynamic situation. For those with an upcoming cruise, travel insurance will only provide
coverage for coronavirus if you purchase a basic comprehensive travel insurance after the outbreak was first declared.

Does my travel insurance cover me if I cancel my trip?

An outbreak of virus is not covered under most travel insurance plans for trip cancellation purposes. If you purchased a Cancel for Any Reason optional upgrade, however, there should be some level of trip cancellation protection available but only if you cancel your trip at least two days prior to departure.

Does travel insurance cover if I get sick while traveling?

You might be able to claim benefits under the trip interruption coverage and the emergency medical coverage. The medical coverage should reimburse you for medical expenses incurred during the trip. It is important to keep all receipts and detailed documentation related to medical care received while on your trip.
You can read more in our
cruise travel insurance primer

Does travel insurance cover me if I'm quarantined?

Policy definitions can vary regarding what constitutes a quarantine. You'll have to check your specific plan to determine whether or not you're covered.

Does travel insurance cover me if the cruise line cancels my sailing?

Cruisers who have "cancel for any reason" coverage might be able to get back a portion of their nonrefundable trip costs if the cruise line cancels the entire cruise prior to departure. However, cruisers should first work with their cruises line to see if refunds are being offered, including for airfare and nonrefundable hotel reservations.
It’s worth noting that if airfare and hotel reservations were booked outside the cruise line (independently, or by a travel agent), the cruise line has no obligation to provide any sort of refund. Those details would have to be worked out with individual airlines and hotels in conjunction with their current policies.

What will happen to cruise itineraries long-term if the disease continues to spread?

Cruise lines will reposition ships and modify itineraries as needed.

More Information

You can find information about coronavirus on the
U.S. Centers for Disease Control website
You might also be interested in information about
travel vaccinations
how not to get sick on a cruise
Still have travel insurance questions?
Chat with experts from InsureMyTrip on our message boards.
How was this article?
Popular with cruisers like you
CLIA Further Extends Suspension of U.S. Cruises Until At Least October 31: Cruise Lines Follow Suit

(10:50 a.m. EDT) -- The Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has announced it will be extending its voluntary suspension of U.S. cruise operations for all member lines until at least October 31, 2020.  

It is the third time that CLIA has issued a voluntary suspension of sailing notice, following the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's initial "No-Sail" order that was issued in March and extended further in April and July.

CLIA member lines include some of the world's largest brands, including all Carnival Corporation & plc lines like Carnival, Holland America and Princess; Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings' brands including Norwegian,

Diamond Princess to End Japan, Asia Cruises in Fall 2021 in Favor of New Destination

(5:40 p.m. EDT) -- Princess Cruises has announced it will cancel all sailings aboard the 2,670-passenger Diamond Princess throughout Japan and Asia between October 2021 and April 2022, in favor of redeploying the ship to a new destination.

Princess announced the ship will instead set sail for a maiden season in another part of the world, though the company did not specify where that would be. The inclusion of the word "maiden" implies a cruising region not normally visited by the ship, which has spent most of its service career in Asia and Alaska.

Princess stated that details of the new voyages would be announced later this month. The cancelled sailings run from the October 24, 2021 vo

Carnival Fascination, Imagination Removed from Carnival Cruises Fleet Roster

(4:19 p.m. EDT) -- Carnival Cruise Line has further reduced the likelihood of Carnival Fascination and Carnival Imagination returning to service for the line after the ships disappeared from an organizational flyer, updated in August 2020, showing the line's various classes of vessels.

Carnival Corporation & plc, the parent company of Carnival Cruise Line, had stated in July that it intended to dispose of two additional ships. While these vessels were not named, the assumption that these were Carnival Fascination and Carnival Imagination was based on the fact that Carni

Return of MSC Cruises: A Q and A with MSC's CEO

(12:05 p.m. EDT) -- MSC Cruises announced some of the industry's most ground-breaking health and safety protocols this week, as the international cruise line eyes a return to sailings in the Mediterranean this fall.

Cruise Critic conducted a question-and-answer session with Gianni Onorato, CEO of MSC Cruises. Here's what he had to say:

Cruise Critic: Where will you restart your operations?

Gianni Onorato: We are ready with a passion to get back to the sea, and we've put together a really strong new health and safety protocol for our guests and our crew. We have had great feedback from the relevant authorities on where we propose to sail, and we're waiting in eager anticipati

Contact Tracing, Masks, Swab Tests in Terminal Part of MSC's Return to Cruise Plan

(2:15 p.m. EDT) -- In anticipation of a limited restart of cruising later this month in the Mediterranean, MSC Cruises gave more details of their health and safety protocols Tuesday, which are shaping up to be among the most sweeping and innovative that the cruise industry has seen so far. 

Speaking on a conference call with media, MSC CEO Gianni Onorato detailed the new health and safety initiatives that are expected to roll out later this month aboard MSC Grandiosa and MSC Magnifica.

Sailings aboard the two vessels, which would initially be limited to residents of Schengen (European Union) countries, could start as early as August 15, pending the approval of the Italian government. I

P&O Cruises To Take Delivery Of Iona Before Autumn; Second Ship Coming in late 2022

(3:45 p.m. BST) -- P&O Cruises has updated two major dates for its fleet, announcing that Iona will be arriving before autumn and its sister ship will be delivered in December 2022.

The 5,200-passener Iona, which will be the largest ship custom-built for the U.K. cruise market, was originally set to debut in May 2020. It is also the first British ship to be powered by liquified natural gas. Delivery from the Meyer Werft shipyard in Papenburg, Germany, has been delayed because of the ongoing COVID-19 coronavirus pandemic.

The sister ship is yet unnamed and will also be built at Meyer Werft. Itineraries will go on sale in spring 2021.

P&O Cruises has voluntarily suspended operations t

Want to cruise smarter?
Get expert advice, insider tips and more.
By proceeding, you agree to Cruise Critic’s Privacy Policy and Terms of Use.
Cookie Consent