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JOEL Katz, managing director

CLIA Australasia

EDUCATING CLIENTS — ONBOARD HEALTH

As the profile of cruise continues to grow, so does the focus of the media on cruise news stories. Unfortunately, these news stories are not always positive, and we’re increasingly hearing from our travel agent members that these reports have been causing concern among travellers. To help you better address these topics, over the coming months we’ll provide information on how to respond to your clients’ questions about some of the major news stories affecting our industry.

Onboard health is often raised as a concern, and media coverage of cruise ship health issues can often be misleading. As travel agents, you are on the front line with consumers, addressing their questions on topics such as illness on cruise ships. In a world of internet access and a 24-hour news cycle, it’s important that you have factual answers to your customers’ questions.

For cruise lines, keeping passengers healthy is essential to an enjoyable vacation. With more than 27 million passengers forecast to cruise in 2018 from around the world, we know that prevention is key. That is why cruise lines have committed extensive resources and best practices to maintain a healthy ship environment. Cruise lines work vigorously to keep passengers and crew healthy, to support the health and wellness of all onboard.

While norovirus often makes the headlines, in reality, such outbreaks are actually quite rare on cruise ships, affecting well under 1% of cruise passengers. In fact, many more people get norovirus on land. Ship crew work diligently to implement measures to prevent and respond to illness, continuously re-evaluating procedures and sharing best practices across the industry.

From cleaning practices to passenger screening and public health inspections, cruise lines adopt several measures for keeping all onboard well, including:

Sanitation:Trained crew members regularly clean and sanitize the ship. Cabins are cleaned at least once a day and common areas such as restaurants, bathrooms, pools and elevators are cleaned throughout the day.

Screening:The importance of early detection cannot be understated, which is why the cruise industry implementspre-boarding health screenings. These, along with a health questionnaire, help identify ill passengers or crew members prior to boarding.

Collaboration:Cruise lines work closely with the public health authorities to implement vessel sanitation programs in a comprehensive effort to employ preventative practices to achieve the highest standards of public health onboard cruise ships. This level of scrutiny and transparency is unique in the travel and hospitality industry.

Medical Facilities:CLIA cruise lines all follow industry-standard guidelines oncruise ship medical facilities.

More information to help you address your clients’ questions on a variety of topics can be found on the CLIA website www.cruising.org.au.

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