Cruise protocols for Tasmania

Last Updated: 20 Jul 2022 3:47pm

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Communications

Pre-embarkation traveller communication

All travellers should sign a statement provided by cruise operators at the time of booking, acknowledging the health, travel and financial risks associated with cruising. This should also outline information regarding obligations on passengers to comply with the Australian Government’s entry requirements.

Cruise operators will provide up-to-date and tailored information (specific to the cruise type and duration) to their passengers in the lead up to the cruise, noting that passengers are likely to book the cruise some time in advance of boarding.

Onboard traveller communication

Cruise operators should maintain regular communication to passengers about COVID-safe practices. This will be implemented differently by each cruise line, however, may include regular voice announcements, videos, posters, and daily Captain’s announcements.

Onboard traveller communication should include regular reminders of the importance of mask wearing where physical distancing is not possible, and reminders on accessing free healthcare onboard if they have COVID-19 symptoms and to isolate and get tested when symptomatic.

Communication regarding cases

Cruise operators should notify other passengers of COVID-19 cases on board a vessel where there is a potential risk of ongoing transmission.

Passengers should be made aware of the approach to communication of COVID-19 cases at the time of booking.

Vaccination

Passengers

All passengers (12 years and older) should be ‘fully vaccinated’ according to the definition used for Australia’s border arrangements. Read the definition of fully vaccinated on the Home Affairs website.

It is strongly recommended that all passengers (including eligible children under the age of 12 years) are "up to date" with their vaccinations prior to travel. Read the Australian Government's advice on staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations. Cruise operators should communicate this recommendation to customers prior to booking.

Threshold

Cruise operators should maintain a threshold of minimum 95% of all passengers on any cruise to be fully vaccinated with a COVID‑19 vaccine.

The 5% unvaccinated threshold should include (1) children under 12 years old who are not fully vaccinated, and (2) people with a medical exemption to the vaccination (noting that prior infection with COVID-19 is not grounds for a medical exemption).

Exemptions

It is recommended that children under 12 years old who are not fully vaccinated, and people with a medical contraindication to the vaccine are permitted to travel, however be included in the 5% threshold of unvaccinated passengers.

Verification

Cruise operators will be responsible for verifying the vaccination status of passengers using technological solutions during booking and human validation at the time of boarding.

Crew

All crew should be ‘up to date’* with their vaccinations as defined by the Australian Technical Advisory Group on Immunisation (ATAGI). Read the Australian Government's advice on staying up to date with COVID-19 vaccinations.

Influenza vaccination

All passengers and crew are strongly encouraged to have the influenza vaccination.

Health screening

Prior to boarding, passengers should complete a health screening which includes verification that individuals do not have symptoms of COVID-19 or other respiratory illness, and/or are not required to quarantine or isolate (as per current domestic requirements).

Symptomatic passengers

Passengers who have had a negative pre-departure test but are symptomatic at the time of boarding should be referred for further medical assessment prior to boarding. Symptomatic passengers should receive an additional negative result from a rapid-PCR test (administered by the cruise's medical team), or if unavailable, a RAT, before they are allowed on board the ship. Those who do not return a negative test should be denied boarding.

Testing

Testing before boarding

Passengers should have a PCR test within 72 hours before boarding, or a self-administered RAT within 24 hours before boarding. Pre-departure PCR testing should be done at private laboratories.

Passengers who have had a negative pre-departure test but are symptomatic at the time of boarding should be referred for further medical assessment prior to boarding. Symptomatic passengers should receive an additional negative result from a rapid-PCR test (administered by the cruise's medical team), or if unavailable, a RAT, before they are allowed on board the ship. Those who do not return a negative test should be denied boarding.

Surveillance testing of crew

Crew should be tested every 14 days (eg via a self-administered RAT), or when symptomatic. Cruise operators may also consider testing crew at the commencement of each new cruise.

Testing ahead of shore excursions

Passengers should be tested prior to a shore excursion where:

  • the passenger is symptomatic; and/or
  • there has been increased transmission of COVID-19 onboard; and/or
  • passengers are visiting remote or vulnerable communities (to be identified in the COVID-19 Safety Plan for the excursion).

Testing before disembarking

Passengers should be tested prior to final disembarkation where:

  • the passenger is symptomatic and/or
  • there has been increased transmission of COVID-19 onboard.

Testing after disembarking

It is strongly recommended that passengers on cruises of 5 days or longer undertake a COVID-19 test 3-5 days after disembarking the cruise.

Shore excursions

COVID-19 Safety Plans

Cruise operators should develop COVID-safe protocols or plans for each shore excursion. The plans should outline risk mitigation measures that will be put in place during a shore excursion, which may include additional testing.

These plans should be developed in consultation with Tasmania's Public Health Services. COVID-19 Safety Plans for shore excursions should consider the specific needs of the local communities, including rural, remote, and Aboriginal communities.

Mask wearing

Masks must be worn onshore in accordance with any domestic requirements and are highly recommended during indoor onshore activities where passengers cannot physically distance.

Onboard risk mitigation measures

Mask wearing

Masks should be worn during embarking and disembarking, and indoors onboard where physical distancing is not possible. Crew should wear masks while indoors onboard.

Enhanced cleaning

Cruise operators should follow enhanced cleaning practices (in line with current practices onboard).

Masks and hand sanitiser

Passengers should be provided free access to masks and hand sanitiser.

Use of outdoor space

Cruise operators should maximise use of outdoor spaces where possible.

Capacity limits

Cruise operators should put in place capacity limits on venues where physical distancing is not possible, and masks cannot be worn. It will be at the discretion of the cruise line to determine when this is needed.

Ventilation

Cruise operators should continue to make efforts to improve their ventilation systems (e.g. upgraded air filters and increased air flow), wherever possible.

Disembarkation

General

Passengers should wear masks when disembarking or in terminals, and must comply with any domestic requirements.

Cruise operators should stagger the disembarkation of guests.

Cruise operators should maintain passenger and crew personal contact information for up to four weeks following a cruise, and provide this information to health authorities if requested.

Cases

Cases can drive home if they have private transport at the port and are well enough to travel, however must adhere to any domestic requirements and should avoid stopping on the way. Cases can be driven by another person who is aware of their positive status but precautions such as wearing masks, open windows for air circulation and sitting as far apart as practical are recommended. Private transport does not include taxi, rideshare or public transport.

Close contacts

Close contacts can make their own way home, including using private or public transport, however must adhere to any domestic requirements including testing and mask wearing.

Outbreak management

Notification

Notification of cases: Cruise operators (both international and domestic) should report COVID-19 cases in line with existing reporting processes. Cases should also be reported to relevant local authorities (port authorities and/or public health authorities as required) 12‑24 hrs prior to arrival.

Reporting for individuals: Passengers must report positive RATs in line with any domestic requirements and processes. It is strongly recommended that cruise operators have robust systems in place to capture positive COVID-19 results of passengers and crew while onboard the vessel.

Management of cases and close contacts

COVID-19 cases: Cases must isolate for 7 full days while onboard. If symptoms remain, cases should isolate for an additional 3 days. No testing is required to end isolation.

Following disembarkation, cases are subject to any domestic requirements in place if they are still within the isolation period. Read about travel requirements for cases after disembarking.

Cases can help with contact tracing by telling people who may be close contacts and advising the cruise operator’s medical team.

Close contact definition: Close contacts include those who share a cabin or have had close contact with a COVID-19 case (eg people who have eaten meals together, smokers in closed environments, or prolonged contact without a mask, as identified by the cruise operator’s medical team through contact tracing processes or if advised by a case).

Close contacts: Close contacts should be managed in line with domestic requirements including daily testing, wearing masks while outside their cabin and avoiding indoor social gatherings.

Following disembarkation, close contacts are subject to any domestic requirements in place if they are still within the 7 day period post the case testing positive.

Alternatively, to further reduce the risk of transmission, cruise operators could adopt additional measures at their discretion (i.e. close contacts to quarantine for 7 days while onboard; testing on day 1 and day 6).

Accommodation arrangements: Cruise operators should provide isolation and quarantine accommodation for guests and crew. On small vessels, passengers may be required to isolate or quarantine in their cabin, while on larger vessels, passengers may be transferred to isolation-specific accommodation onboard.

After disembarking, for those who cannot safely drive home, cruise operators should enter into agreements with local hotels or other suitable accommodation providers to accommodate cases until they are released to travel home.

Transport arrangements: Cruise operators should enter into agreements with private transport companies to drive cases to a designated hotel or to their home if they do not have their personal vehicles in the port.

Accommodation and transport costs: Cruise operators will bear the cost of transport and accommodation required for COVID-19 cases. Where this is not possible (such as for small cruise companies), passengers should be informed prior to booking.

Provision of health services onboard

Medical assessments: Cruise operators should ensure that passengers have access to free medical assessments for respiratory and other symptoms of COVID-19, including free access to COVID-19 tests (PCR and/or RAT).

Intensive care: Cruise operators should have capacity to provide intensive care level support for COVID-19 cases.

Training: Medical staff should receive training in how to treat COVID-19.

Anti-viral medication: Cruise operators should have staff with the ability to safely administer anti-viral medication onboard (pending available supply).

Escalation of health issues

Transfer of cases: Cruise operators should refer and transfer COVID-19 cases to hospital where they cannot be safely managed onboard.