Azamara docked in Nelson Azamara docked in Nelson

NZ Cruise hits back at Covid criticism – ‘time to get facts on the table’

The New Zealand Cruise Association (NZCA) has hit back at Covid related criticism of the industry, citing international research that shows serious cases resulting in hospitalisation are considerably less than on land.

‘With the successful restart of our cruise industry along has come some negativity which, while factually wrong, can be difficult to counter,’ the association says in its latest update.

It has outlined a number of facts which it says travel agents and the wider travel community will find helpful helpful when responding.

‘Data analysed by PBI Research Institute in Finland from December 2021 to May 2022 confirms the rate of hospitalisations from Covid-19 has been 30 to 80 times lower on cruise ships than on land,’ the newsletter says.

Kevin O’Sullivan, chief executive officer New Zealand Cruise Association, points out that cruise operations are more highly regulated than other larger hospitality providers, many of which cater to significantly more patrons and operate without similar health protocols and requirements for testing and vaccination.

‘Cruise lines globally have committed to extensive new health measures in response to Covid-19, developed with the help of leading medical experts internationally.’

O’Sullivan says millions of passengers have sailed successfully under these measures in countries where cruising has resumed since the second half of 2020.

More than 100 countries worldwide have resumed cruise operations under these measures, including in Europe, North America, the Caribbean, Asia, South America, Africa, and Australasia.

‘While no setting is immune to Covid-19, cruise line health measures have shown to be effective in mitigation against the disease. The vast majority of cases identified on cruise ships have been mild or asymptomatic, with a very low rate of hospitalisations.’

Strictest measures for NZ cruising

Cruise ship passengers and crew entering in to New Zealand must be vaccinated and tested before boarding. If Covid is found on board affected guests are placed in isolation cabins.

‘Our marine borders must still adhere to strict protocols set out by the NZ Government, although our air borders (quite rightly) are completely open, with 10,000 visitors arriving daily,’ says Kevin O’Sullivan, CEO of the New Zealand Cruise Association..

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