Saturday, June 13, 2015

MERS Outbreak Alters Cruise Itineraries

Middle East Respiratory Syndrome (MERS)

Courtesy: CDC

 Royal Caribbean Cancels

South Korean Calls

Since May 2015, the Republic of Korea has been investigating an outbreak of MERS. It is the largest known outbreak of MERS outside the Arabian Peninsula.

CDC does not recommend that Americans change their travel plans to the Republic of Korea or other countries because of MERS. More

 Strong Disease Control Recommended (WHO)

 "A joint mission by the World Health Organization and the Republic of Korea’s Ministry of Health and Welfare to review the outbreak of Middle East Respiratory Syndrome coronavirus (MERS CoV) in the Republic of Korea has recommended that continuing strengthening of contact tracing, monitoring and quarantine as well as expanded laboratory testing will prevent further spread of the virus."
There have been 138 confirmed cases of MERS CoV (including 1 confirmed case in China) reported in the current outbreak so far, with 14 deaths.  The World Health Organization has made recommendations to contain the disease in South Korea which include identification of contacts, quarantine, infection prevention, and travel restrictions for infected patients.

Cruise Line Response

Cruise lines that are sailing in the region are monitoring the situation and taking necessary actions.  The first to cancel ports of call in South Korea is Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd.  

Royal Caribbean's Mariner of the Seas, Voyager of the Seas and Quantum of the Seas will skip visits to Seoul until at least August 2015. Mariner of the Seas also will skip Jeju Island.  

Impacted cruises will substitute sea days or visit other ports including Kagoshima, Fukuoka, Okinawa or Nagasaki, Japan.

Passengers and crew are being screened and provided with information about the MERS outbreak and symptoms.  If passengers or crew members show symptoms, such as a fever, cough and shortness of breath, the ships' medical staff will isolate and treat patients using anti-viral medications onboard.

Princess Cruises' Diamond Princess also has scheduled stops in South Korea. Princess Cruises is monitoring the situation; we are not aware of any changes to itineraries at this time.   We will continue to provide updates as information is made available.

Protect yourself from Respiratory Illnesses

  • washing hands often,
  • avoiding close contact with people who are sick,
  • avoiding touching their eyes, nose and mouth with unwashed hands, and
  • disinfecting frequently touched surfaces.

Know Before You Go

Before leaving on any international travel, land or sea, we suggest visiting our International Travel tab.  The page contains information about passport & visa requirements, travel advisories, health information and much more.


WHO recommends strong disease control to end MERS-CoV outbreak
Fact sheet on Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV)
Middle East respiratory syndrome coronavirus (MERS-CoV) – Republic of Korea 
Learn about MERS (CDC)

If you are traveling in the region impacted by MERS or any other infectious disease, please be sure to visit the WHO and CDC sites for current information.

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