Australia: Read the strict cruise ship Covid rules for ALL passengers and crew

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Aussie travellers keen to get out to sea face strict Covid rules and vaccine mandates as the East Coast prepares for the return of cruise ships.

New South Wales, Queensland and Victoria have been working jointly to put together changes to cruise travel that aims to reduce the risk of big Covid outbreaks, while allowing passengers to enjoy their cruise ship holiday.

Passengers will need to get a negative Covid-19 test before embarking, while those symptomatic are able to board ships but they will need to get a negative PCR test that same day.

All passengers over 12 must be double vaccinated, with most crew needing the triple dose © Provided by Daily Mail All passengers over 12 must be double vaccinated, with most crew needing the triple dose

Crews will be tested every 14 days, or when they get symptoms and must wear masks on board the whole time, except when they go to their own rooms.

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Passengers will only need to wear masks when embarking and disembarking, plus indoors on board when it isn't possible to socially distance.

All holiday makers over 12 must have received two doses of the Covid vaccine, yet all crew have to have their three doses, with exceptions for those who aren't yet eligible.

Unvaccinated kids under 12 or anyone with a valid medical exemption can travel - but cannot make up more than five per cent of the ship's passengers.

Cruise ship operators will need to undertake health measures in order to reduce transmission risk, which include shore excursions and managing cases and contacts on board.

The protocols will not apply to passenger ships that sleep less than 100 people.

Buffets will also still feature on cruises but staff will choose the food for guests from behind screens in another way to prevent the spread of Covid.

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The changes come after the federal government threw a lifeline to the struggling cruise ship industry allowing them to return to shores.

2,700 holidaymakers (some pictured disembarking in March, 2020) went out into the community sparking a 20 per cent increase in infections at the time. © Provided by Daily Mail 2,700 holidaymakers (some pictured disembarking in March, 2020) went out into the community sparking a 20 per cent increase in infections at the time.

Ships will be back in force domestically with international ships being given the green light this month.

P&O's Pacific Explorer will be the first major cruise ship to return to Australia, leaving from Sydney on a four-night voyage to Brisbane on May 31st.

Cruise ship environments have been a hotbed for spreading Covid, with the country giving cruise ship arrivals a wide berth since March 2020.

The bans came at the outset of the pandemic as passengers on the Ruby Princess cruise ship were allowed to disembark in Sydney without having health checks.

More than 2,700 holidaymakers went out into the community - some with obvious Covid symptoms - sparking a 20 per cent increase in infections at the time.

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Crews (from the Ruby Princess pictured in 2020) will be tested every 14 days, or when they get symptoms and must wear masks on board the whole time, except when they go to their own rooms. © Provided by Daily Mail Crews (from the Ruby Princess pictured in 2020) will be tested every 14 days, or when they get symptoms and must wear masks on board the whole time, except when they go to their own rooms.

New rules for passengers on cruise ships:

Passengers must get a negative Covid-19 test before embarking

If a traveller boards with symptoms they need to get another PCR test that day

Crew will be tested every 14 days, or when they get symptoms

Cruise staff will also need to wear masks always except when they return to their rooms

All passengers must wear masks when embarking and disembarking, and indoors, onboard if social distancing is not possible.

Travellers over 12 must have received two doses of the Covid vaccine, and all crew must be up to date with three doses, unless they are not eligible yet

Unvaccinated kids under 12 or anyone with a valid medical exemption can travel, but they must not make up more than five per cent of ship's passengers

Cruise ship operators have to produce public health measures to lessen risk of transmission, including developing Covid-safe plans for shore excursions, plus managing cases and contacts on board

Protocols will not apply to people arriving on passenger ships that sleep fewer than 100.

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