Cruise lines cancel departures from China amid coronavirus outbreak

29-Jan-2020 Intellasia | AP | 6:02 AM Print This Post

Five cruise companies have canceled scheduled departures from China amid the ongoing coronavirus outbreak, as the death toll rose to 80 and over 50 million people remain on lockdown in 17 Chinese cities.

Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises, Genting Cruise Lines and Astro Ocean Cruises have all suspended various trips through the region, as officials expand efforts to contain the viral disease in the Wuhan area.


On Monday, Royal Caribbean spokesperson Jonathon Fishman confirmed to Fox News that the January 27 and January 31 sailings of the Spectrum of the Seas ship from Shanghai have been canceled due to the outbreak. Fishman explained that the Spectrum of the Seas is currently the cruise line’s only ship with a home port in China.

“We are working with our guests to provide full refunds for the cancellation. The health and safety of our guests and crew is our primary concern, and we continue to work with the World Health Organization, the Centers for Disease Control, and government health authorities to monitor the situation,” Fishman said.

Likewise, the Switzerland-based MSC Cruises called off the January 28 departure of the MSC Splendida ship from Shanghai, a spokesperson for the cruise line told Fox News. Guests booked on the now-canceled cruise can either receive a full refund for their cruise ticket and port charges, or rebook another cruise this year and receive additional onboard credit.

As for the Splendida itself, the ocean liner will remain in port from January 28 until February 1.

“We will continue to closely monitor the public health and safety situation in China and are consulting with international and local health authorities, as well as the Ministry of Transport of the People’s Republic of China, and strictly follow their advice and recommendations,” MSC said in a statement shared with Fox News. “Guests and travel partners have been informed and will be kept abreast of any further changes as the situation evolves.”

Meanwhile, the Italy-based Costa Cruises has canceled the following upcoming sailings for four of its ships: the Serena (January 31,) the Atlantica (January 27 and January 31,) the Venezia (February 2) and the neoRomantica (January 30 and February 2.)

Like MSC, Costa guests affected by the cancellations can receive a full refund or rebook for an alternative cruise and receive an onboard credit, the Express reported.

According to the outlet, after the Venezia returned to port in Shenzhen on Monday, a medical team boarded and evaluated all 4,973 passengers and 1,249 crew members for symptoms of fever and pneumonia.

Four passengers were said to have high temperatures, while 148 passengers who are allegedly residents of Wuhan or had recently visited the now-quarantined city were isolated for a “stricter screening.”

“Costa Crociere [Cruises] is dedicated to the health and safety of all guests and crew. We are strictly monitoring the situation of the so-called ‘Wuhan Pneumonia’ which is causing concern among public health authorities and the travelling public,” Costa said in a statement.

“The safety, security and welfare of all guests and crew are our absolute priority has increased health and safety measures as a matter of caution. The company adopts a specific protocol to help prevent the introduction and/or spread of any infectious diseases.”

Spokespeople for MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises were not immediately available to offer further comment.

In addition, two smaller cruise lines have also adjusted their itineraries in China.

Genting Cruise Lines’ World Dream ship canceled its January 26 call at Guangzhou, Cruise Hive reported, while the Genting Dream ship is still set to sail from Singapore on January 27. Though health screenings will be given as a precautionary measure, passengers have the option to cancel their trip for a full refund.

Astro Ocean Cruise’s Piano Land liner has also canceled departures from Shanghai due to the outbreak, Seatrade Cruise News reported.

In the US, confirmed cases of the coronavirus have been reported so far in in Washington state, Chicago, Southern California and Arizona.

China’s health minister, Ma Xiaowei, said the country was entering a “crucial stage” as “it seems like the ability of the virus to spread is getting stronger.”


Category: China

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