UAE bans cruise ships in bid to stop coronavirus from spreading

As coronavirus continues to spread, the number of confirmed cases is leaping by thousands each day and the death toll is stacking up.

After a number of outbreaks on board cruise ships, most notably Diamond Princess, there’s been growing fears that they are turning into hotbeds for the virus.

The residents of La Reunion pelted rocks at one ship while the Dominican Republic turned away another, despite the fact that there were no confirmed cases of coronavirus on board.

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On Sunday, the US warned its citizens not to travel on cruise ships.

Now, the UAE, alongside India, has gone one step further by banning cruise ships altogether.

Celebrity Cruises has had to cancel a number of upcoming sailings due to the ban.

A spokesperson told The Independent: “Due to decisions by the governments of India and United Arab Emirates (UAE) to deny port entry to all cruise ships, we have made the difficult decision to end Celebrity Constellation’s March 2nd sailing early.  At this time, the Government of India has approved our extended stay in Mumbai until Tuesday, March 10th, to facilitate debarkation for all guests. 

“Guests will receive a 100 percent cruise refund as compensation for disruption to their travel plans. Guests with shore excursions in Goa, Cochin, Abu Dhabi, or Dubai, booked through Celebrity Cruises, will automatically receive a refund to their onboard account. Celebrity Cruises will also assist all guests with air travel arrangements for their return home.”

The cruise line is also having to cancel the 17 March and 2 April sailings for the ship. Passengers booked on both will receive a full refund as well as a 25 per cent future cruise credit.

Royal Caribbean is believed to have ended a cruise early due to the ban. The Independent has approached the cruise line for comment.

Carnival Corp, which owns a number of cruise lines including Carnival Cruises, Cunard, P&O and Princess Cruises says they are not affected by the ban.

UAE’s cruise ship ban follows a advisory to residents, including citizens and ex pats, not to travel abroad. Those who do are warned they could be put into quarantine.

The country has also closed its schools for four weeks while a large number of events have been cancelled.




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