COVID-19: Latest Updates

Sunday 1 March 2020

The Voyager of the Seas cruise ship, with a maximum capacity of 4,369 passengers and crew, will be docking in the Port of Tauranga at 0645 Monday 2 March, having diverted from Vanuatu. Cruise ships docking in Tauranga are visiting under strict health and safety protocols, and host communities should feel at ease about welcoming them as always, said Tourism Bay of Plenty Chief Executive Kristin Dunne.

In preparing for the unexpected arrival of the Voyager of the Seas, Tourism Bay of Plenty has sought assurance from the Ministry of Health. “Both Toi Te Ora Public Health Unit and the Ministry of Health have determined that there is no risk of COVID-19 (coronavirus) on board the vessel,” said Dunne.

In a written statement a Ministry of Health spokesperson said, “We are aware that there are seven people on board the cruise ship Voyager of the Seas due to dock in Tauranga tomorrow that are ill with typical influenza or gastroenteritis. This has followed standard processes and these people are being managed appropriately. Our current assessment is that there is no risk from COVID-19”.

“For many aboard the Voyager of the Seas this cruise is a holiday of a lifetime and through no fault of their own the ship has had to divert. Their time in our care could leave a lasting positive impression and it is my hope that we all rally to extend the manaakitanga we are known for,” said Dunne.

“I would like to reassure the community that the cruise industry has extensive experience and protocols for managing the health and wellbeing of their guests, and the host communities. There are strict measures being taken to mitigate COVID-19 (coronavirus) risk and we have complete faith in the conditions they have employed,” said Dunne.

Tourism Bay of Plenty reiterates a statement from Friday 21 February confirming that the majority of more than 270 cruise ships globally continue to sail unaffected, including within New Zealand – but with strict precautions in place.

The update advised other measures in place, including:

  • No cruise ships have travelled directly from China to New Zealand. Many of the vessels operating in this region have been in Australasian waters for some time.
  • Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) ocean cruise lines have introduced stringent measures including pre-screening processes to determine a person’s travel and contact history. They will deny boarding to anyone who may present an increased risk.
  • Cruise lines are in close consultation with health authorities around the world, including the World Health Organization, New Zealand’s Ministry of Health, and regional health authorities.
  • Reporting procedures are in place to ensure New Zealand authorities are aware of any relevant illness prior to a ship’s arrival.


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