Health information for cruise ship passengers
There are a number of health risks related to international and domestic cruises. This includes risks while you are on board the vessel, as well as at your destination.
Outbreaks of infectious diseases are very likely
Viruses spread easily and quickly between people interacting closely together, especially in indoor areas. Going on a cruise ship increases your chance of exposure to COVID-19, influenza, acute gastroenteritis (gastro) and other infectious diseases.
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 required to self-isolate in your cabin and follow health advice, and your journey may be impacted.
COVID-19 and influenza (flu) can cause serious illness and death
If you are at higher risk of severe illness (e.g. if you are over 60 years of age, have a chronic health condition, or are pregnant or immunocompromised) and have decided to go on a cruise, it is important you speak with your doctor to discuss:
- The risks that are involved
- Medications you may need
- Necessary vaccinations including COVID-19 and flu
- A care plan that covers what you need to do if you develop COVID-19 or flu (including what tests and medications you need)
- Travel vaccinations or medications depending on your destination port(s).
If you test positive to COVID-19 on a cruise ship, you might need to take antiviral medication, or you might need to be transferred from the cruise ship to a hospital at the nearest port for urgent care. Make sure you understand what will happen if you become sick. Speak to your cruise operator or travel agent if you have questions.
You should NOT travel on a cruise ship if you:
- Have any symptoms of COVID-19
- Have tested positive for COVID-19 in the week before your trip. You must self-isolate at home for 7 days and follow the NSW Health Testing Positive to COVID-19 and Managing COVID-19 Safely at Home advice.
If you are a household or close contact of someone who had COVID-19 in the last 7 days, you must follow the NSW Health Household and Close Contact Guidelines. You are at high risk of getting COVID-19 and should seek advice from your cruise ship or travel agent before boarding. They may ask you to take additional precautions (such as regular testing for COVID-19), or ask you to defer your cruise.
Check with your cruise operator or travel agent to understand if there is anything you need to know or do before boarding
In NSW, cruise operators should comply with the Eastern Seaboard Cruise Protocols (PDF, 201.25 KB). This includes requirements for passengers to:
- Be vaccinated for COVID-19 if they are over 12 years of age
- Undergo testing and health screening before boarding the cruise
- Wear masks when boarding and disembarking the cruise
- Self-isolate for at least 7 days if they test positive to COVID-19 or are a close contact of someone with COVID-19 during the cruise. Additional restrictions may be put in place depending on the risks of COVID-19 and influenza at any time
Download the NSW Health information for cruise ship passengers fact sheet (PDF, 184.83 KB), which contains a checklist to help you to prepare for your trip. We recommend ticking off each item before going on your cruise.