Coronavirus (COVID-19) is an ongoing pandemic disease that started with the outbreak in Wuhan China in December 2019. WHO (World Health Organization) officially classified the outbreak as "worldwide pandemic" on March 11, 2020.
So far, on cruise ships, Coronavirus had affected 1039 people (passengers plus crew) of whom 17 passengers died. The largest Coronavirus outbreak occurred on Diamond Princess (February) resulting in 15-day ship quarantine (in Port Yokohama) and 712 infected (including 8 deaths). The second-largest Coronavirus cruise outbreak was on the ship Grand Princess (February-March, 2 consecutive voyages, total infected 51). Followed a long month of altered or cancelled cruises, ship quarantines/lockdowns and port closures (bans on incoming vessels), mainly in Southeast Asia, Europe and the Caribbean islands. The third most affected ship (Ruby Princess) had 133 cases (passengers, plus ~700 crew?) but those were confirmed 3-5 days after the debarkation in Sydney NSW.
The next table shows statistical data (updated March 28, 2020) about the most affected / top-pandemic countries (total 182 affected) as confirmed cases (registered patients) and deaths caused by COVID-19 and SARS-CoV-2 (severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2). These stats are daily updated since March 14th.
|South Korea -144||8236||8320||8413||8799||8961||9137||9332||9478|
Annually, common flu infects ~11% of Earth's total population (~800 million people), with influenza deaths varying between 0,5 million and 1,2 million (each year).
Nearly all of the Coronavirus deaths are elderly people aged 70+ (Italy's average age is 79,5) and the majority had previous health conditions. Coronavirus spreads similarly to common influenza (via droplets from coughing/sneezing), with exposure-symptom onset time 2-14 days. Predominant symptoms include fever, dry cough, fatigue, sputum production (saliva+mucus), anosmia (smell blindness), breathing problems (shortness of breath), muscle/joint pains, sore throat, headache. Illness complications include pneumonia (lungs inflammation) and ARDS (acute respiratory distress syndrome).
Between March 12-14, all major cruise shipping companies (ocean and river) suspended operations fleetwide (all vessels in the fleet remained docked/anchored and crewed) for periods ranging from 30 up to 60 days. All cancelled cruises were fully refunded in FCC (future cruise credit). In March 16-29, Fincantieri (one of world's largest cruise shipbuilding companies) suspended all activities at its shipyards and offices in Italy.
In Europe, several intercountry ferry routes were suspended and numerous major seaports closed - at least through April 1. On March 16, the ferry company STENA LINE announced 950 job redundancies (shipboard and offshore jobs) due to Coronavirus-related drop in Scandinavia's passenger shipping traffic.
For the period March 13 through June 1st, Canada banned from docking in its ports all large passenger ships (cruise liners and ferries) which have passenger+crew capacity 500+. The ban partially affected the Alaskan season as most non-US-flagged cruise ships are required to visit a foreign port along the itinerary. New Zealand banned cruise vessels between March 15 - June 30.
On March 16, Carnival Corporation (world's largest cruise shipowner) loaned USD 3 billion (~EUR 2,77 B) with maturity in September 2020. On March 23, RCCL-Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd (world's 2nd-largest cruise shipowner) loaned USD 2,2 billion (~EUR 2,03 B) with maturity in March 2021 and an optional extension for 364 more days (till March 2022). With the new financing, RCCL now has USD 3,6+ billion of liquidity (cash deposits plus undrawn credit facilities). The money was secured term-loaned from 3 US banks (JPMorgan Chase, Bank of America Corporation, Goldman Sachs Group) plus the French banking group BNP Paribas. On March 12, NCLH (world's 3rd-largest cruise shipowner) borrowed USD 1,55 billion (~EUR 1,43 B) via two loans - USD 675 M (final payment Mar 2021) and USD 875 M (maturity in Jan 2024).
During the laid up period, on the passenger-free cruise liners, the crew was allowed to use all public areas (including bars and restaurants) and also provided with free and unlimited Internet (available 24 hours).
Coronavirus cruise ships 2020 updates
|(Cruise Line) Ship||(Dates) Itinerary||Sick Passengers-Crew|
(Phoenix Reisen) Artania
(March 28) debarkation in Fremantle Australia
9 confirmed, 70+ suspected
(Celebrity Cruises) Celebrity Infinity
(March 23) two days after debarkation in Tampa Florida
(Costa Cruises) Costa Victoria
(March 23, debarkation in Civitavecchia-Rome) returning to Europe from Asia (Mumbai, India)
(MSC Cruises) MSC Fantasia
(March 23, debarkation in Lisbon) returning to Europe from South America (Rio de Janeiro)
(MSC Cruises) MSC Splendida
(March 23, debarkation in Marseille) returning to Europe from Dubai UAE
(Royal Caribbean) Ovation Of The Seas
(March 11-18) 7day New Zealand from Sydney Australia
(Holland America) Zaandam
(March 7-21) 14day South America (Argentina-Chile) from Buenos Aires to San Antonio
53 passengers, 85 crew (+4 passenger deaths) - these are non-confirmed cases, for now, only experiencing the symptoms)
(MSC Cruises) MSC Opera
Since March 10, the liner is quarantined in Port Genoa (Italy).
(Princess Cruises) Ruby Princess
(March 8-21) 14day New Zealand from Sydney NSW
133 passengers (including 1 death), ~700 crew (isolated onboard)
(Costa Cruises) Costa Magica
(March 13-20) 7day Caribbean from Pointe-a-Pitre, Guadeloupe
3 passengers, 7 crew
(Costa Cruises) Costa Favolosa
(March 9-16) 7day Caribbean from La Romana, Dominican Republic
3 passengers, 10 crew
(Silversea) Silver Shadow
(March 7-27) 20day South America and Caribbean from Rio de Janeiro to Fort Lauderdale
2 passengers, ship quarantine in Recife Brazil
(Costa Cruises) Costa Luminosa
(March 5-22) 17day Caribbean and Transatlantic from Fort Lauderdale to Naples
46 passengers (incl 1 death), 8 crew
(NCL) Norwegian Bliss
(March 1-8) 7day Florida and Bahamas from NYC
(Silversea) Silver Explorer
(March 4-18) 14day Chilean Fjords (Ushuaia to Valparaiso-Santiago)
1 passenger, ship quarantine off Chiloe Island Chile
(Royal Caribbean) Jewel Of The Seas
(March 9-16) 7day Oman and UAE roundtrip from Dubai
2 passengers, ship quarantine off Dubai UAE
(Fred Olsen) Braemar
(Feb 27 - Mar 12) 14day Caribbean from La Romana to Bridgetown (Dominican Republic-Barbados)
1 passenger, 4 crew
(Princess) Grand Princess
(Feb 21 - Mar 7) 15day Hawaii and Mexico from San Francisco CA
22 passengers (incl 1 death), 29 crew,, ship quarantine off San Francisco
(Princess) Diamond Princess
(February) 8day Japan and Taiwan cruises from Yokohama-Tokyo
outbreak with 712 infected (including 8 deaths), ship quarantine in Port Yokohama
(GHK-Dream Cruises) World Dream
(January 19-24) 5day China to Vietnam, roundtrip from Nansha-Guangzhou
12 passengers, ship quarantine in Hong Kong
On March 19, Carnival Corporation, in a press release, offered its permanently docked at ports cruise liners (during the lockdown period) to be used as hospitals for treating non-Coronavirus patients (not as quarantine facilities). These large liners have a minimum cabin capacity of 1000 (per vessel). Each stateroom has an en-suite bathroom (shower-washbasin-toilet) and can be quickly fitted with various medical and remote monitoring equipment (cardiac, respiratory, oxygen saturation, CCTV). All onboard operations (machinery maintenance, food and beverages, cleaning services) are provided by the staff and crew already on the vessel.