How safe is it to travel by plane, train, or cruise liner?

As restrictions on travel around the globe gradually start to lift, some passengers may understandably feel some trepidation about returning to their pre-pandemic globetrotting habits. We’ve looked at the risks involved in travel by train, plane and cruise liner – and the measures introduced by the industry to try and mitigate them.

Cruises

Passengers walk along the deck of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in February 2020. Around 3,600 people were quarantined onboard due to fears of a coronavirus outbreak (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)
Passengers walk along the deck of the Diamond Princess cruise ship in February 2020. Around 3,600 people were quarantined onboard due to fears of a coronavirus outbreak (Photo by CHARLY TRIBALLEAU/AFP via Getty Images)

In travel terms, cruise ships have been at the beating heart of the Covid-19 pandemic, with major outbreaks on the Diamond Princess and Ruby Princess making headline news around the world. At present, cruise liners are docked, with little to no indication of when operations are likely to commence.

Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the world’s largest cruise industry trade association, has said that cruise lines will sail again “when the time is right”, adding that this would be based on a number of factors, “including, most importantly, input from scientists and medical experts.”

At the beginning of June, P&O Cruises confirmed that after discussions with governments and embassies, it had made “the difficult decision to extend our pause for all sailings up to and including 15 October 2020”. In a video shared on the company’s Twitter page, P&O Cruises president Paul Ludlow stated that the liner’s operational focus was not “‘when can we resume sailing’, but ‘how can we develop a comprehensive restart protocol that will keep everyone safe and well’”.

And on 9 June, company president Simon Palethorpe extended Cunard’s pause in operations until 1 November 2020 for a limited fleet.

The Foreign and Commonwealth Office (FCO) had originally issued a warning to those aged 70 and over and those with pre-existing health conditions against cruise ship travel. However, it has now changed its advice to warn against all cruise ship travel.

The latest warning reads: “The Foreign & Commonwealth Office advises against cruise ship travel at this time. This is due to the ongoing pandemic and is based on medical advice from Public Health England.

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