To Cruise or Not To Cruise?

cruise ship MSC Meraviglia 02/05/2018 F GrahameTourism took a very hard blow during lockdown. The FM of Scotland, Nicola Sturgeon, on 28th of July encouraged Scots to have  a holiday in Scotland after quarantine restrictions were renewed for holidaymakers who had gone to Spain.

The Cruise Ship industry which would normally have delivered over 140 vessels to Orkney went on hold and cancelled many of their sailings. Earlier this week the  Greek Tourism Minister, Haris Theoharis, announced that  cruise ships will be allowed to operate in Greek ports starting from August 1, 2020. Six ports will reopen for cruise ship arrivals –  Piraeus, Rhodes, Heraklion, Volos, Katakolon, and Corfu.

In the Faroe Islands where the virus was eradicated 23 crew out of 30 on a Russian trawler tested positive for Covid 19 and 2 of those have been hospitalised. 6 new cases were also identified on a Lithuanian cargo ship which had docked next to the Russian vessel.

Research has also been published about the outbreak of Covid19 which took place way back in February 2020 on the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship off Yokohama , Japan. The ship was put under quarantine when a passenger who had disembarked in Hong Kong had tested positive for Covid19.

The scientists  performed whole-genome sequencing of severe acute respiratory syndrome coronavirus 2 (SARS-CoV-2) directly from PCR+ clinical specimens and conducted a phylogenetic analysis of the outbreak. Their report suggests that the outbreak stemmed from one case but spread very quickly due to mass gatherings for social events and shared cabins.

The 80 year old passenger had left the ship at Hong Kong and had a cough on January 23rd 2020 and was confirmed as having Covid 19 on February 1st.

From February 3 to 4 the health status of all passengers and crew members was investigated by quarantine officers and upper-respiratory specimens were collected from symptomatic passengers, crew, and their close contacts for SARS-CoV-2 PCR testing.

As of February 5, there were a total of 3,711 individuals with 2,666 passengers and 1,045 crew members on board the DP. The Japanese government asked about 3,600 passengers and crew members to stay on board in Yokohama during the 14-d isolation period through February 19 to prevent the further spread of COVID-19 cases. Haplotype networks of SARS-CoV-2 infections in the Diamond Princess cruise ship outbreak

By March 8th  697 COVID-19 cases had been identified among the 3,711 persons on the DP and 7 people had died.

Cruise ships provide entertainment for travellers on board – dancing, shows, talks etc. It is why many people choose to holiday with them as well as visiting ports they might not otherwise get to. The nature of these activities, no matter what  rigorous hygiene regime is put in place, is where a highly infectious virus like Covid19 would spread very rapidly.

In all these examples where people come together in an enclosed space it only takes one infected person for Covid 19 to rapidly transmit to others and if not quarantined, to go out into the wider community.

Noel Donaldson 1


Reporter: Fiona Grahame


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3 replies »

  1. And then there are airplanes.
    Who, in their right mind, would choose to get into a metal tube, in which the same air just re-circulates, during a pandemic of a disease which is airborn?

    They do, though, they do.

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