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Cruise lines, Port of Tampa Bay issue guidelines on coronavirus

Cruise lines will deny boarding to anyone who has been in Iran, South Korea or China in the last 14 days.
Passengers wait to catch rides outside Cruise Terminal 3 after disembarking from the Carnival Paradise at Port Tampa Bay in 2017.
Passengers wait to catch rides outside Cruise Terminal 3 after disembarking from the Carnival Paradise at Port Tampa Bay in 2017.
Published Mar. 2, 2020
Updated Mar. 3, 2020

The organization that represents the majority of the world’s cruise lines has issued guidelines that include refusing to admit passengers from certain countries or those who have been in contact with a person with coronavirus.

In addition, the Port of Tampa Bay said it is monitoring the situation when it comes to cargo but since journeys from China to Tampa are 30 days or longer, that puts concerns outside of the 14-day window of someone showing symptoms.

“The screening process has been smooth and wait times have not been impacted. Port Tampa Bay cruise and cargo operations will continue, as usual,” said port spokeswoman Lisa Wolf-Chason.

The Cruise Lines International Association, which represents more than 90 percent of ocean-going cruise capacity worldwide and includes nearly every major cruise line, issued new guidance this week regarding how cruise lines should respond.

The Empress of the Seas cruise ship docks at the Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 3 in Tampa. Well before the recent confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in Hillsborough County, each cruise line implemented procedures for monitoring passengers and reducing risk, a spokeswoman for the Port Tampa Bay said.
The Empress of the Seas cruise ship docks at the Port Tampa Bay Cruise Terminal 3 in Tampa. Well before the recent confirmed positive case of COVID-19 in Hillsborough County, each cruise line implemented procedures for monitoring passengers and reducing risk, a spokeswoman for the Port Tampa Bay said.

“Given the evolving nature of the ongoing COVID-19 — and based upon prevailing guidance from global health authorities, including the World Health Organization (WHO) — CLIA Members have adopted the following enhanced protocols for ocean-going guests and crew who have recently traveled from or through South Korea and China, including Hong Kong and Macau," the guidelines said, adding that it is based on “conservative measures ... to appropriately and effectively screen every guest and crew member on every ship prior to boarding.”

Among the directives:

  • Deny boarding to anyone who has traveled from, visited or transited via airports in Iran, South Korea and China, including Hong Kong and Macau, within 14 days before embarkation.
  • Deny boarding to anyone who, within 14 days before embarkation, has had close contact with, or helped care for, anyone suspected or diagnosed as having COVID-19, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to COVID-19.
  • Cruise lines should conduct preboarding screening necessary to effectuate these prevention measures. Enhanced screening and initial medical support are to be provided, as needed, to any persons exhibiting symptoms of suspected COVID-19.

A Port Tampa Bay spokeswoman said each cruise line has their own guidance, and that well before the recent confirmed positive case in Hillsborough County, each cruise line implemented procedures for monitoring passengers and reducing risk.

Meanwhile, the Coast Guard has issued guidance to cargo ships, requiring them to alert the Coast Guard if any crew members are ill and the Centers for Disease Control would be notified.