The operation of cruise ships in Tasmania is covered by protocols in relation to COVID-19.
The Tasmanian protocols include best practice measures regarding vaccination, testing, mask wearing, outbreak management and communications, and are closely aligned with the Eastern Seaboard Cruise Protocols.
Advice for cruise operators
Any measures in place under the Public Health Act 1997 (e.g. management of cases and close contacts) apply to cruise ships in Tasmanian waters as they do onshore. Operators should also ensure they are aware of their obligations under Commonwealth law and international maritime arrival processes.
Additional measures may be put in place at any time depending on the risks of COVID-19.
Cruise operators have responsibilities for managing COVID-19 outbreaks.
All vessels should have access to infection prevention and control expertise and have COVID-19 safety and outbreak management plans in place.
Cruise operators are responsible for notifying relevant authorities of potential listed human diseases on board (for international vessels), as per the Commonwealth Biosecurity Act 2015, or of notifiable diseases on board, as per the Tasmanian Public Health Act 1997. COVID-19 is a listed human disease and notifiable disease under these instruments.
The Communicable Diseases Network Australia (CDNA) has developed National Guidelines for Cruising in Australia, endorsed by the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC).
This provides guidance and outlines minimum expectations for testing, close contact management, notification and communication, as well as recommendations for vaccination and outbreak management thresholds and actions.
Advice for cruise passengers
All international travellers to Australia must comply with Australian Government entry requirements. For local or domestic cruises, passengers should check whether vaccination is required under the cruising protocols or the policies of the cruise operator.
Potential health risks
There are a number of health risks related to international and domestic cruises.
Viruses spread easily and quickly between people interacting closely together, especially in indoor areas. Going on a cruise ship increases your chance of exposure to infectious diseases including COVID-19.
While cruise ships have plans in place to reduce passengers’ risk, these measures may not prevent outbreaks.
While onboard, you should monitor yourself and inform the onboard medical centre if you develop any symptoms compatible with COVID-19.
If there is a COVID-19 outbreak, you may be required to self-isolate in your cabin and follow health advice.
If you are at higher risk of severe illness (e.g. if you are over 60 years of age, have a chronic health condition, or are pregnant or immunocompromised), it is important to speak with your doctor before going on a cruise.
If you are at higher risk of severe illness and test positive to COVID-19 on a cruise ship, you might need to take antiviral medication, or be transferred from the cruise ship to a hospital.
Make sure you understand what will happen if you become sick. Speak to your cruise operator or travel agent if you have questions.
You can also find important safety advice on the Australian Government’s Smart Traveller website.
Rules for cases and close contacts
Cases and close contacts must adhere to any Tasmanian requirements under the Public Health Act 1997 just as they would onshore. Find out what positive COVID-19 cases must do in Tasmania
This includes telling people who may be your close contacts, and advising the cruise operator’s medical team.
- Close contacts on a cruise may 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).
- If you are a close contact, you must follow close contact guidelines including daily testing, wearing masks while outside your cabin and avoiding indoor social gatherings.
- As a close contact, you may be asked by the cruise operator to quarantine in your cabin to reduce the risk of spreading the virus onboard. Speak to your cruise operator or travel agent if you have questions.
Before you board
Passengers should check with their cruise operator or travel agent to understand if there is anything they need to know or do before boarding.
You should NOT travel on a cruise ship if you:
- Have any symptoms of COVID-19.
- Have tested positive for COVID-19 in the week before your trip. You must isolate at home for at least 7 days if you test positive to COVID-19.
If you are a close contact of someone who had COVID-19 in the last 7 days, you must follow close contact requirements, including daily testing and mask wearing if leaving home, and not leaving home if you have symptoms.
Someone who is a close contact is at higher risk of getting COVID-19 and should seek advice from the cruise operator or travel agent before boarding.
The cruise operator may ask you to take additional precautions (such as regular testing for COVID‑19) or ask you to defer your cruise.