Cruise holidays: Cruise lines to test all passengers and crew for COVID before embarkation

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Cruise line testing for COVID-19 is to be rolled out around the world. Any ship with the capacity to carry 250 people or more will test all passengers and crew for the deadly virus, industry trade group Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) announced yesterday, in the latest cruise news. Everyone will be required to test negative for coronavirus before boarding their cruise ship.

“CLIA ocean cruise line members worldwide have agreed to conduct 100 percent testing of passengers and crew on all ships with a capacity to carry 250 or more persons – with a negative test required for any embarkation,” said CLIA in a statement.

“This is a travel industry first and an example of the cruise industry leading the way.”

CLIA’s member lines carry 95 percent of the world’s ocean-going cruisers.

Members include Carnival Cruise Line, Celebrity Cruises, Cunard, MSC Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, TUI Cruises, Virgin Voyages and many others.

CLIA said: “We see testing as an important initial step to a multi-layered approach that we believe validates the industry’s commitment to making health, safety, and the well-being of the passengers, the crew, and the communities we visit our top priority.”

The testing requirement is effective immediately worldwide.

The association did not specify whether cruise lines would use rapid or PCR (nasal swab) testing or whether passengers will be tested several days in advance of their arrival at the port.

The news comes a week after the US enters for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) extended its No Sail Order.

US cruises are now banned until October 31 (unless the public health emergency subsides before then).

The order was first issued back in March when the pandemic hit.

“The CDC Director has reason to believe that cruise ship travel may continue to introduce, transmit, or spread COVID-19,” said the authority at the time.

The UK government also advises against cruise ship travel.

“Cruise ship travel means staying overnight for at least one night on a sea-going cruise ship with people from multiple households,” said the Foreign, Commonwealth and Development Office (FCDO).

“Our advice against cruises applies to international travel on a ship that is exclusively for pleasure or recreation, providing overnight accommodation and other leisure facilities such as entertainment venues or swimming pools.

“Our advice does not include ferries or privately-rented boats.

“The government will continue to review its cruise ship travel advice based on the latest medical advice.

“If you have future cruise travel plans, contact your cruise line, travel operator, or the travel company you booked with, for further advice.”

Numerous cruise lines have cancelled sailings in 2020 as a result of cruise bans.

Norwegian Cruise Line and its sister companies, as well as Virgin Voyages, axed all November sailings on Monday.

Carnival has cancelled all remaining 2020 cruises except those sailing out of its home ports and Princess Cruises have suspended operations until mid-December.

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