Health information for cruise ship passengers
There are a number of health risks related to cruises. This includes risks while you are on board the vessel, during shore excursions and at your final destination.
Outbreaks of infectious diseases are very likely on cruise ships. Viruses spread easily and quickly between people interacting closely together, especially in indoor areas.
While cruise ships have plans in place to reduce passengers’ risk, these measures may not prevent outbreaks.
If there is a COVID-19 outbreak, you may be requested to stay in your cabin and follow health advice.
Before your cruise – ‘Passenger Checklist’
It is recommended that you read this to help you prepare before going on your cruise.
Know if you are at higher risk of severe illness
If you are at higher risk of severe illness (for example more likely to get very sick from COVID-19 or flu and may be at higher risk of needing hospital care) and have decided to go on a cruise, it is important you speak with your doctor to discuss:
- The risks involved in going on a cruise and whether you need to take any additional precautions before or during your trip
- What you should do if you get cold or flu symptoms (runny nose, sore throat, cough, fever) or gastro symptoms (nausea, vomiting, diarrhoea, fever)and if you need to develop a care plan together
- Travel medications you may need if you become unwell. This includes medicines for gastro and antiviral medicines if you get COVID-19 or flu. The Pre-Assessment action plan for respiratory infections can be used to help document whether your doctor recommends that you have antiviral medicines. Ask your doctor to complete this form, and then take it with you in case you test positive to COVID-19 or flu while you are on the cruise ship.
- Vaccinations. It is strongly recommended that you are up to date with your vaccinations, including any COVID-19 booster doses you are eligible for, and the annual flu vaccination. You may also need additional travel vaccinations depending on your destination port(s).
If you are feeling unwell please tell the cruise staff before boarding the cruise vessel, and follow their instructions. It is important for cruise ships to monitor and manage outbreaks to protect the overall health and wellbeing of passengers and crew.
Make sure you understand what will happen if you become sick. If you are unwell, you may be advised to stay in your cabin by the cruise staff. You may need to be transferred from the cruise ship to a hospital at the nearest port if you require urgent care.
Keep in mind that there may be significant additional costs and charges if you require urgent medical care. Speak to your cruise operator or travel agent if you have questions. Check if your travel insurance covers medical expenses that the cruise line doesn’t cover, such as medications or the cost of being transferred from the ship to a hospital.
Find out more information on COVID-19 antiviral medicines.
Check with your cruise operator or travel agent to understand the risks, and if there is anything you need to know or do before boarding:
In NSW, cruise operators should follow the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) Statement – Advice to support safe cruising and the NSW Advice for the cruise industry .
Additional recommendations may be made if there is a higher risk of COVID-19, flu or gastro on board the cruise.
During your cruise
- Wash your hands often with soap and water and use hand sanitiser as viruses can be transmitted on surfaces.
- If you start to feel unwell, stay in your cabin as much as possible and tell the cruise staff immediately. If you have respiratory symptoms, wear a mask if you leave your cabin and avoid crowded spaces.
- If you test positive to COVID-19 or flu during the cruise, you are encouraged to tell the cruise staff who can provide further instruction. It is important for cruise ships to monitor the number of people with COVID-19 or flu onboard. It is recommended you stay in your cabin. If leaving your cabin wear a mask and avoid crowded spaces.