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From NCL: Will Holland follow policy?


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1 minute ago, doctork said:

But as you say, I haven't seen the form itself and its specific wording.  It just sounds like another way for the cruise line to say it is someone else's fault, and if they can blame you or your doctor, less liability for them.  Various risk managers have likely told the lines to do this.


I think it is this, coupled with them trying to find some way to keep cruising from being shut down altogether.


Perhaps helped along by the lawsuit filed against Princess. (Cruise lines want to be sure that people can't claim they didn't understand there was risk involved...)


As to why the measure targets those 70+ -- well to put it flatly, that is the age group most at risk for severe issues should they become infected. No, it's not fair but life (and the virus) aren't fair.


Analysis of more than 50,000 cases in China yielded the following mortality rates by age group:


80+ years old:    14.8%
70-79 years old:  8.0%
60-69 years old:  3.6%
50-59 years old:  1.3%
40-49 years old:  0.4%
30-39 years old:  0.2%
20-29 years old:  0.2%
10-19 years old:  0.2%
0-9 years old:  no fatalities

What strikes me about this is that for younger people (39 years or less), the mortality rate is only slightly higher than for the seasonal flu. But above that, the rate doubles or more than doubles for each succeeding age cohort -- which is pretty significant and no doubt why the cruise lines are concerned about older passengers sailing, with OR without additional underlying health issues.


(The death rate from seasonal flu is typically around 0.1% or slightly more in the U.S.)



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Wide open for liability or else allowing no one over age 70 to travel.  I haven't looked at the data lately but I suspect this is still true - nearly 80% of people age 65 or older (this is US Medicare data) have at least one chronic disease.  Most have one or more of the following: high blood pressure, high cholesterol, coronary artery disease, kidney disease, osteoarthritis,  asthma or COPD, as well a host of other usually milder conditions such as allergies, heart burn, migraine headaches, etc.  They may not make you unfit for travel but they are chronic diseases.

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Why don't they have everyone boarding fill out the form. Many  younger people have underlying health conditions. What if the doctor feels you aren't fit for travel? Do you just lose your money?  These are dark times. 

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On 3/11/2020 at 7:42 PM, knittinggirl said:

Good point!  I'd have a pretty hard time getting an appointment w/ an MD.  Not to mention sitting in the doctor's office right before the cruise and catching everything.


I don't understand why they can't get the ship's doctor to check them. 


They're going to lose a lot of money.


Very good point.  The idea that you will be able to easily get a certificate no more than 7 days before sailing is ludicrous. Many travelers leave several days before embarkation and will not have the chance to obtain the certificate.


Further, the 70+ cruiser may be in perfect health and able to travel by NCL standards, but he/she is still subject to the 69- travelers who may be bringing the virus with them.


It is an asinine policy and one which may strongly affect the company's bottom line.

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On 3/12/2020 at 1:37 AM, cruisegirl said:

Thanks for the link for the form. If that’s all it is I’m not worried about having one filled out. 


If you are not concerned about being readily able to get the certificate signed no more than seven days of sailing, you must be either:  a) a doctor, b) have a doctor in the family) or have a very, very good friend who is a doctor.  I don't know of  doctors who would sign such a certificate without being familiar with and having a record of the traveler's medical condition.

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 I don't know of  doctors who would sign such a certificate without being familiar with and having a record of the traveler's medical condition.

They would if you were regular with your annual or bi-annual checkups and labs.  Most people's insurance pays for at least one physical every year. And many doctors have on-line services now.  Most people who can afford a cruise probably have insurance and are seeing a doctor for an annual checkup. The only exception might be the super younguns that are relatively new in the workforce and just haven't gotten into the routine dental and doctor appointments and that is not where the concern lies.  
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47 minutes ago, Tampa Girl said:


If you are not concerned about being readily able to get the certificate signed no more than seven days of sailing, you must be either:  a) a doctor, b) have a doctor in the family) or have a very, very good friend who is a doctor.  I don't know of  doctors who would sign such a certificate without being familiar with and having a record of the traveler's medical condition.

We have regular check ups and have a good enough relationship with our doctors that we would most likely be able to get into to see them. However as I have thought about the liability issues I think the bigger question is whether a doctor would be willing to sign such a statement. They sign similar statements to clear you for surgeries so maybe this wouldn’t be anything different. So far though HAL hasn’t put such a policy into effect and maybe they won’t. I’m not going to worry about something that hasn’t happened yet. 

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NCL apparently copied the CLIA proposal as reported by the Maritime Executive, see below:


BY THE MARITIME EXECUTIVE 03-11-2020 07:31:00



In an effort to reduce the risk associated with novel coronavirus, the cruise industry's biggest association has proposed new rules that would limit embarkation for vulnerable and elevated-risk passengers. The details have not been published, but accounts leaked to media outline several new measures. 

In a plan submitted to the office of Vice President Mike Pence on Tuesday, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) has reportedly proposed to deny boarding to any person over the age of 70 unless they present a note from a doctor stating that they are fit to travel on board a cruise ship. Those with an underlying chronic medical condition that would make them more vulnerable to the illness would also be prohibited from embarking.

“In our meeting with him on Saturday, the vice president placed great emphasis on protecting the most vulnerable populations, which include travelers of a certain age and those with chronic health conditions, as specified by the CDC. We believe the plan that we submitted is responsive to those concerns,” a CLIA spokesperson said in a statement to Fox News.

In a news conference Tuesday night, Vice President Pence indicated that the plan also contains provisions for airlift evacuation if the need arises. Two cruise ships have experienced serious onboard coronavirus outbreaks to date, and both have required airplane evacuation services to repatriate passengers or deliver them to other locations for quarantine. 

CLIA chairman Adam Goldstein told Travel Weekly that the plan also calls for cruise ships to carry coronavirus test kits on board, a measure that would accelerate testing in the event of a suspected case. The lab work would still be done on shore, but the vessel's medical staff would be equipped to collect samples on an expedited basis.

The federal government is reviewing CLIA's proposal and is expected to respond soon. The U.S. Centers for Disease Control currently recommends that all travelers "defer all cruise ship travel worldwide," citing the risk of person-to-person spread of COVID-19, but no administrative measures have been taken to impose restrictions on operations.

In the areas where COVID-19 has already hit the hardest - the East Asian and Italian markets - cruise operations have been heavily impacted by public health measures. Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled all Asia summer season cruises through the end of the third quarter, a decision affecting 40 sailings. Royal Caribbean has canceled 18 and Holland America has canceled seven more. Most of the affected vessels have diverted to other regions, allowing them to offer alternate itineraries for passengers who have already booked. 

This week, both MSC and Costa Crociere said that they are winding down cruises in Italy, where a full-scale national shutdown is in progress. The two lines are allowing only disembarkation during Italian port calls to allow passengers to return home. Later MSC and Costa departures from Italy have been canceled through April 3.  

Measures for small passenger vessels

The U.S. industry association for dinner cruise, ferry and tour boat operators, the Passenger Vessel Association, is also emphasizing the importance of health and safety - and the similarity of its members' operations to shoreside options. 

"It is important for the traveling public to understand that most U.S.-flagged passenger vessels are small businesses operating short duration trips of just a few hours," said PVA President Colleen Stephens. "Whether dinner boats, ferries or whale watch vessels, which are U.S.-built and crewed by U.S. citizens, we have much in common with shore-side restaurants and other attractions."

The PVA has called on its members to strictly adhere to CDC guidelines for controlling the spread of illness, including: 

  • Ensuring that employees who are ill or displaying signs of illness (fever, cough) do not come to work.
  • Sanitizing (not merely cleaning) areas of the vessel in which passengers and crew come into contact
  • Mandating that all employees frequently wash their hands according to recommended procedures.
  • Emphasize the utmost levels of cleanliness during food preparation, serving and clean-up.
  • Partnering with agencies and operators that book or sell tours to ensure that any guest identified with possible signs be immediately reported to crew
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The writing has been on the wall and in the sky  since the Princess, Viking, and various Government announcements.  One did not need a crystal ball or tea leaves to see it coming.


Either the ports will be closed or the ships will be almost empty.


This business about getting a physician’s note is bizarre to say the least.  

Edited by iancal
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As an FYI since I'm over 70 years old, for the past several years I have had to have a doctor's note similar to the NCL sample posted above in order to obtain liability insurance for my motorcycling in Europe.  My doctor had no issues in providing it to me.  But I also didn't have to do it on a rush basis.

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