COVID-19 and cruises: a match made in hell
Need to know:
- Prior to COVID-19, the cruise industry was experiencing remarkable growth. An estimated 30 million people globally took a cruise in 2019.
- Passengers on longer cruises to Northern Europe, Alaska, the Galapagos, Iceland, the Polar Regions, transatlantic and world cruises are typically aged over 60.
- Cruise ships are an unusual environment with considerable potential for transmission of infectious diseases.
- Prior to COVID-19, respiratory and gastrointestinal infections and vaccine-preventable diseases were the most frequently reported outbreaks on cruise ships.
There has been widespread media coverage and public health concern about the high incidence of COVID-19 cases on cruise ships and the role of cruise ships in transmission of the disease.
The best-known examples have been the Diamond Princess and the now notorious Ruby Princess.