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Cruise Lines React to SARS Threat

Updated May 6, 2003

Silversea Cruises understands that our guests and travel partners may be concerned about recent developments with the SARS illness. The safety and well-being of our guests and shipboard staff is always of utmost importance to us. Accordingly, we are working in close consultation with our land-based and shipboard medical experts. On a regular basis, they are evaluating the latest information and recommendations of the World Health Organization and U.S. Centers for Disease Control.

In addition to following a stringent preventative sanitation program aboard our ships, Silversea is not currently accepting new or returning shipboard staff from certain countries. Further, all shipboard staff and visitors will be subject to the same screening criteria imposed upon embarking guests.

Silversea is implementing the following precautionary measures:

All embarking guests will be asked to complete a questionnaire. Based on responses, some guests will be denied boarding as follows:

  • Guests who, in the past 10 days, have lived in, visited, been on a flight from, made a flight connection through or stopped in Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam or Taiwan.

  • Guests who have had personal contact with an individual who has traveled within the past 10 days to Mainland China, Hong Kong, Singapore, Vietnam or Taiwan.

  • Guests who have had personal contact within the past 10 days with an individual diagnosed with SARS.

Guests who have lived, visited or transited through Toronto, Canada, within the past 10 days will be subject to further questioning and medical evaluation, including having their temperature taken by a medical professional prior to boarding. Guests in this category will be allowed to board solely at the discretion of the attending medical professional.

If a guest is denied boarding under the circumstances described above, he or she will be offered the following two options:

A cruise credit that may be applied toward a future Silversea voyage departing within one year from the date boarding was denied. A full refund of all monies paid to Silversea. The above precautionary guidelines may be updated or revised at any time, as necessary, to keep current with the latest information on SARS.

Thank you for your understanding and cooperation in this matter.

Princess Cruises' latest policies & precautionary measures for Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome

As a result of the worldwide concern about the spread of the new illness called Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS), Princess has implemented a proactive and comprehensive health policy designed to both minimize the possibility of SARS being introduced onto any of our ships and to quickly and correctly identify, isolate and treat any suspect case that may occur, thus minimizing risk to others.

Currently no cases of SARS have been reported on any North American cruise vessel.

Princess is working closely with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), and has developed health protocols based along their guidelines. In an attempt to contain the worldwide spread of this illness, the CDC has issued travel advisories for mainland China (including Hong Kong) and Taiwan. Travel alerts have been issued for Toronto, Canada; Vietnam and Singapore. Consistent with their recommendations, and in the interest of extreme caution and until further notice, Princess has adopted the following policies for all passengers, crew and visitors to any of our ships worldwide:

  • Prior to boarding any Princess ship, all passengers, crew and visitors will fill out a brief screening questionnaire to determine the risk factors for SARS. Any person who is found to have stayed in or transited through mainland China, including Hong Kong, and Taiwan within the previous 10 days will be denied boarding.
  • Any person who is found to have had close contact with a confirmed or suspect SARS case, a SARS care provider, a designated SARS healthcare facility or a SARS affected household, within 10 days of joining the ship, will be denied boarding.
  • Persons coming from or transiting through Toronto, Canada; Vietnam and Singapore will be allowed to board ONLY if they have been symptom-free of respiratory illness within 10 days of boarding.
  • Every effort has been made to avoid routing passengers (who have booked their air travel through Princess) and crew through areas for which the CDC has issued travel advisories.
  • Princess is maintaining increased surveillance of passenger and crew health, and has in place comprehensive sanitation and infection control procedures.
  • Any passenger who is denied boarding will receive a full refund and be provided, at Princess' expense, a flight home. We will work individually with affected passengers to rebook their cruise at a later date. We appreciate our passengers' understanding about this important health issue.

Princess will continue to closely monitor this matter, and will make changes to our procedures accordingly. For further information about SARS, please visit the CDC website at


Although no Carnival Cruise Lines vessels currently sail to or near any countries presently under a SARS-related U.S. travel advisory (currently China, Hong Kong, Singapore and Vietnam), we recognize that there is concern on the subject.

Our shoreside medical experts are in regular contact with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and we are monitoring the situation closely. Each ship’s management and medical team are being provided with regular updates and advice on monitoring for SARS symptoms and appropriate actions. Further, any crew scheduled to join the fleet from countries presently under a SARS-related U.S. travel advisory are being prohibited from joining at this time.

In the interest of extreme caution, Carnival Cruise Lines has implemented the following requirements for guests:

1. All guests embarking on a cruise will be required to fill out and sign a brief questionnaire. Guests who fit the below criteria, which is covered in the questionnaire, will be denied boarding and offered the option of a future cruise credit applicable to any departure through March 2005 or a full refund, including air transportation costs:

  • Guests who have traveled within the 10 days prior to sail date to a country that is under a SARS-related U.S. travel advisory (currently Hong Kong, China, Vietnam and Singapore).
  • Guests who have had personal contact within the past 10 days with an individual diagnosed with SARS.

2. Further, guests who have had personal contact with an individual who has traveled within the past 10 days to a country that is currently under a SARS-related U.S. travel advisory will be subject to further questioning and evaluation by the ship’s medical personnel. Those guests will be allowed to board the vessel solely at the discretion of the ship’s medical professionals. Any guest denied boarding under this scenario will be offered the option of a future cruise credit applicable to any departure through March 2005 or a full refund, including air transportation costs.

We at Carnival Cruise Lines appreciate the cooperation of all our guests on this important matter.


After unveiling new itineraries due to the close-in cancellation of its Asia program resulting from the fear of SARS in China, Crystal Cruises took the unprecedented step to bar passengers arriving from the Toronto metro area, or anyone who has passed through Toronto within the previous 10 days, from boarding a Crystal cruise. The new policy affects cruises in May. 

A spokeswoman said fewer than 20 passengers booked in May are from Toronto and those passengers are receiving full refunds, she said. "It was a difficult decision. We certainly don't want to alienate any travel audience at this time in the industry," she added.

The line, like many others, has already denied boarding to passengers arriving from Singapore, China, Vietnam and Hong Kong.

Meanwhile, if you are interested in one of the Crystal Harmony's hastily rescheduled and discounted voyages from Los Angeles next month... those three cruises, which were scheduled after the ship was pulled from Asia, sold out within a week.


ResidenSea, Ltd. announced that The World’s Asian itinerary planned for this spring has been cancelled, as a result of the health concerns raised by the persistent outbreak of severe acute respiratory syndrome (SARS) in Asia. As reported by the World Health Organization this week, nearly 1,500 cases of SARS have been reported throughout Asia. Remaining in Australia through April 24, The World will then be redeployed to North America for voyages along the west coasts of the U.S., Mexico and Canada.

"In view of these circumstances, we feel it prudent to defer our visit to Asia at this time," said Robert Riley, president and chief executive officer of ResidenSea, Ltd. "We are very disappointed to miss Asia’s incredible ports of call, but at the same time we’re excited to have this opportunity to spend more time in North America. Our voyages along the west coast were very successful last year, and we expect the same in 2003."


Severe Acute Respiratory Syndrome (SARS) and Cruise Travel
Although there have been no reports of SARS on any cruise ship operating in North America to date, the membership of the International Council of Cruise Lines (ICCL) has taken increased health and safety measures as a matter of caution. As an industry, we are working closely with health officials from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) to enhance surveillance and reporting procedures for possible suspect SARS cases.

Monitoring/Prevention of SARS on Cruise Ships
Individual cruise lines are closely monitoring the SARS situation around the clock, and depending on various factors such as their employees, passengers and ports of call, have implemented various procedures to ensure the health of everyone onboard. These steps have included:

  • Screening of both passengers and crew who are arriving within 10 days from CDC identified SARS travel alert areas.
  • Working to proactively educate both passengers and crew about SARS and its symptoms and will, as appropriate, deny boarding to any passenger that meets certain risk factors for SARS.
  • Re-routing arriving passenger and vessel itineraries away from locations for which there are current travel warnings.
Enhanced Cruise Ship Procedures/Protocols
Over the past several years, ICCL member cruise lines have enhanced the safety and security of passengers and crew through the adoption of the most comprehensive and proactive health and sanitation protocols in the travel and tourism industry.

Currently, all member cruise lines participate in a voluntary vessel sanitation program administered by the CDC. Cruise industry health and sanitation protocols developed in conjunction with the CDC are effective in reducing the transmission of infectious illnesses aboard ships.

During a national news conference with news media earlier this year, Dave Forney, Chief of the Centers for Disease Control's Vessel Sanitation Program said: "The standard by which they [the cruise lines] are held for sanitation is the highest in the world and continues to be the highest in the world."

Should a suspected SARS case be identified on a cruise ship, all members of the ICCL have trained medical staff onboard with appropriate isolation and treatment facilities. The disinfectants available for use by ICCL member lines are believed to be the most effective agents available against the virus that is presently thought to cause SARS.

Cancellation Policies
It is important to note that cruise lines are being flexible and establishing procedures for the reimbursement and rebooking of passengers denied boarding due to SARS. However, each cruise line's policy is different, so passengers should contact the lines directly for more information.

Additional information on SARS can be obtained at the CDC web site:

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