Cruise Lines Respond to Ebola

Cruise ships in general are arguably one of the cleanest, safest, and most sanitized environments – outside of my kitchen, of course. Nonetheless, the recent press devoted to Ebola has caused concern for travelers – especially cruise passengers. It is interesting to note the public’s concern over the Ebola virus and the seemingly lack of concern over the flu virus. The flu is much more easily spread than Ebola and kills as many as 49,000 American’s in a single year. Yet the public is seemingly more concerned about Ebola. Another interesting aspect of the public’s reaction is that the flu is preventable. Yet only 1 out of 3 American’s bothers to get a flu shot. Isn’t that amazing? I can’t recall the last time anyone said they weren’t taking a cruise because they were afraid to catch the flu.

Well, the cruise lines take the flu, Ebola, Norovirus, and all transmittable diseases and illnesses seriously. It would be bad for business otherwise. Carnival Cruise Lines just announced on 10/24/2014 additional precautions to be taken with regard to the public’s concern over Ebola by releasing the following letter to passengers sailing in the near future:

We know there has been considerable media coverage about the Ebola virus, which has raised concerns among the public in general.  We’d like to take this opportunity to provide you some important information in an effort to ease any concerns you may have. 

At Carnival Cruise Lines, the safety, health and welfare of our guests, crew, and staff is always our number one priority.  Therefore, we have implemented strict screening and boarding procedures following collaboration with federal and international health authorities.

At embarkation, all guests, visitors, and crew boarding our vessels must complete a mandatory health screening questionnaire prior to embarking. Those individuals who answer positively to any of the screening questions will be asked to submit to further medical screening prior to being allowed to board.

As part of our screening process, guests are asked to disclose if they have visited or traveled through countries with a US CDC Level 3 Travel Warning (any of the West African countries of Liberia, Sierra Leone, and/or Guinea). Guests must also disclose if, within 21 days of their cruise departure date, they have been in contact with, or helped care for someone known or suspected to have the Ebola virus, or is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure to Ebola. Any individual who answers positively will be denied boarding.

Carnival and other cruise lines continue to monitor the situation closely, along with Cruise Lines International Association and our colleagues in the rest of the travel industry. We remain in close contact with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and the World Health Organization (WHO) for updates and guidance. Guests seeking more information on Ebola can visit the World Health Organization’s website at www.who.int or the CDC website at www.cdc.gov/vhf/ebola/.

We greatly appreciate your understanding and cooperation in our efforts to safeguard our guests and crew. Most importantly, we look forward to having you sail with us.

Carnival and all cruise lines take extraordinary measures to keep the ship’s environment clean, safe, and sanitary for the passengers and the crew. So, relax and enjoy your next exciting cruise vacation. As for me, I am more concerned about catching something from the handle on the grocery store shopping carts. So, I keep sanitizing wipes nearby. Happy sailing!