February 15, 2020
(Updated 9:36 a.m.) -- Between outright cruise port closures and ports only denying entry to Chinese nationals, it might feel like cruise ships are being bounced around Asia -- and even Caribbean waters --due to mounting concerns over the spread of coronavirus, which originated in Wuhan, China.
The following is a status report of which cruise ports are denying entry to cruise ships, which ports are not allowing Chinese passengers to disembark and what other ports have experienced reduced (or even increased) cruise ship traffic in response to the virus.
Ports Currently Closed to Cruise Ships
Hong Kong: Kai Tak Cruise Terminal in Hong Kong has shut both its cruise terminals until further notice as cruise lines cancel sailings and adjusting itineraries to avoid calls on several Asia ports due to the coronavirus outbreak.
South Korea: South Korea has implemented a temporary ban on all cruise ships docking at its ports. For February, the only ship scheduled to call in was Holland America Line's Westerdam, which has been barred from entering multiple ports.
Kota Kinabalu, Malaysia: The Malyasian port of Kota Kinabalu has closed itself to all cruise ship traffic.
Taiwan: Keelung and other cruise ports in Taiwan closed their doors to cruise traffic on February 6, making one exception on February 7 for a ship called Super Star Aquarius with a high concentration of Taiwanese passengers.
Some South Pacific islands: Tonga's cruise ports and three New Caledonian ports of Lifou, Mare and Isle of Pines remain closed to cruise traffic.
Vietnam: While no official statement has been issued by Vietnam about closing its ports to all cruise traffic, the ships Norwegian Jade and AIDAvita were denied entry into three of its ports as of February 12, despite followng protocols with no reported cases of coronavirus and no Chinese passport-holders onboard. Silversea's Silver Spirit is expected to call on Da Nang on February 18.
Ports Denying Chinese Nationals
The Bahamas: No entry for anyone with prior 20-day mainland China travel, regardless of nationality
Singapore: No entry permitted for China passport holders, otherwise ship will be denied entry
Vietnam: No entry permitted for China passport holders. Ship will be denied entry
Indonesia: No entry permitted to China passport holders
Sri Lanka: No arrival visas for China passport holders
India: No arrival visas for China passports
Malaysia: No entry permitted for China passports issued in Hubei, Zhejiang or Jiangsu provinces
Japan: No entry permitted for China passports issued in Hubei province
Philippines: According to Norwegian's website, the Philippines is not currently allowing Chinese nationals to disembark; guests with a Chinese passport who are traveling on voyages that disembark in Phillippines will not be allowed on board their ships.
Many countries are refusing entry to anyone who has traveled from, to or through China in the past 14 days or more, requiring Chinese cruise passengers to submit to additional health screenings and document review.
As a result, cruise lines are denying boarding to any passenger with a passport from China, Hong Kong or Macau who has been to any of those countries within the last 15 days and who must also pass a temperature reading and exhibit no flu-like symptoms. This is a shift on a previous policy of Royal Caribbean to completely bar these passport-holders from boarding a ship.
Norwegian Cruise Line is still completely denying boarding to any guest that holds a Chinese, Hong Kong, or Macau passport, regardless of residency (except U.S. alien residents holding an Alien Resident Card or "green card" traveling on itineraries that sail from a U.S. port and end in a U.S. port.)
Additionally, any guest or crew member who has traveled to mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau -- or crew that has been in contact with someone who has traveled there -- less than 15 days before boarding won't be allowed to board ships from either cruise line, regardless of nationality.
Ports Experiencing Adjusted Cruise Calls
In addition to Shanghai and Hong Kong, ports across Asia have experienced a shift in cruise passenger traffic, with no determination on when calls will once again be returned to normal.
Cambodia: Sihanoukville, Cambodia received Holland America's Westerdam on February 13 so guests and crew can begin to disembark and return home.
Thailand: The Port of Bangkok (Laem Chabang) is among the ports that denied entry to Holland America's Westerdam, despite no cases of coronavirus detected onboard.
Philippines: Among ports losing cruise traffic is Subic, Philippines, which normally sees visits from lines such as Costa Cruises and Genting's Dream Cruises.
Japan: Diamond Princess, with 3,700 passengers and crew onboard, is currently quarantined in Yokohama until February 19, with 285 cases of coronavirus detected. On February 15, the U.S. Embassy in Japan announced the imminent evacuation of American passengers.
Yokohama (Tokyo) was originally scheduled to receive Holland America's Westerdam (instead of Hong Kong and Shanghai), but denied the ship entry. The February 15 Westerdam cruise scheduled to embark in Yokohama has been canceled.
Elewhere in Japan, the cancellation of four of Royal Caribbean's Spectrum of the Seas sailings will decrease calls on the ports of Fukuoka, Nagasaki, Naha and Sasebo. A canceled MSC Splendida voyage was also scheduled to visit Nagasaki.
Malaysia: Changes in MSC Splendida's itinerary lead to visits to Langkawi, Penang and Kuala Lampur in Malaysia -- along with Ho Chi Minh City in Vietnam. However, reports on February 14 claim that Holland America Westerdam passengers heading home from Cambodia were held at the airport in Kuala Lumpur, Malaysia; Cruise Critic is awaiting further updates and information.
For more information on cruise cancellations and itinerary changes, see our coronavirus cruise line coverage.