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Good News : Boarding refusal at cruise terminal because one of your fellow passengers on flight, tests positive


Bertie Doe
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Scenario : You board your flight at say, Birmingham or Gatwick with 300 (double jabbed) passengers. Everyone tests negative and you continue to the Caribbean to join ship. However, at cruise terminal, someone tests positive and cruise-line is obliged to refuse boarding to all 300 passengers. Obviously Covid cover on the travel insurance will kick in, with regard to the one person testing positive i.e. medical, repatriation, hotel quarantine (if required) and also a full refund.

 

Any refunds for the remaining 299 passengers ? Good News, I got a reply to this from Royal Caribbean and Princess Cruises : If they provide both Flight and Cruise, it becomes a Holiday Package. I assume they are referring to the 2018 Package Regulations Act. As such you will get a Cancel and refund from Royal Caribbean or Future Cruise credits with Princess Cruises.

 

OK that's the refund dealt with but what about the cost of overnight hotel and return flight for you and the other 299 passengers? Sadly I'm aware of no travel insurer, who will cover the indirect impact of Covid. In fact one of the largest insurers The Post Office goes to great lengths under exclusion 30, to exclude cover for boarding refusal, for any reason.

 

https://travelinsurance1.postoffice.co.uk/Content/POMS/files/Documents/V9/WordingCollinson.pdf 

 

On a different topic : what about those folk who have booked 'Cruise only' and have arranged flights yourself or via a travel agent? Unfortunately you then fall outside the 2018 PRA, compensation wise and therefore it may be advisable to write to both agent and cruise line, to get clarity.

 

If anyone has good travel insurer, who will cover the 'no boarding scenario' then please post here. 

Edited by Bertie Doe
duplication
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I'm not sure how the cruise line would know that one passenger tested positive unless the airline passenger was also a cruise passenger or who else was on that flight.

Even if that passenger was one of the cruise lines passengers the cruise line still would not have a list of other passengers on that flight (unless you booked your flight through the cruise line)

 

I have made my own flight arrangements to the US in October and have not told NCL any of the flight details. Sounds like it's better not to have booked flights through the cruise line & remain off their radar.

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2 hours ago, ziggyuk said:

I have made my own flight arrangements to the US in October and have not told NCL any of the flight details. Sounds like it's better not to have booked flights through the cruise line & remain off their radar.

 

Yep, that's a very good point Ziggy and one I'd completely overlooked. I guess the unfortunate person testing positive at the terminal, is legally/morally obliged to divulge to the local authorities and the cruise line, exact details of his/her flight. The airline would provide a list of all fellow passengers etc, etc.

 

If we were booking our own flight to the cruise terminal, we'd be tempted to book a couple of days earlier, fall off the radar and do a bit of local exploring. We did this in 2015, arriving in Rome, two days before C. Fortuna and in 2019 two days in Barcelona before a C. Fascinosa Trans. Of course, there are extra costs involved and a lot depends on whether the area around the cruise terminal, is worth visiting.

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  • 4 weeks later...

Here's an update : I wrote to both my local MP and the Foreign Secretary, to ask what government help would be available to those travellers who are refused cruise ship boarding and may be stranded in a foreign port. She may have raised the matter with the Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office because I received a reply, the gist of which is as follows :-

 

Thank you for your email of 13 September to the Foreign Secretary regarding international cruise travel. We appreciate you sharing findings from correspondence with cruise operators and insurance providers.

The Foreign, Commonwealth & Development Office cannot require insurance providers or operators to amend their policies. It is for insurance providers to liaise with their customers on any exclusions that have been introduced as a result of the pandemic; and for customers to seek this information from prospective insurers while booking their trip. 

We emphasise in our travel advice that travellers should buy insurance before going abroad and ensure they are content with the level of cover it provides. This includes cover provided for unplanned or emergency repatriation. Please find our guidance on travel insurance here:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/foreign-travel-insurance

Within our advice for international cruises we also explicitly highlight the risk that travellers may need to pay for costs including medical care, quarantine, testing and return travel to the UK if their cruise is affected by COVID-19. Once again, we strongly recommend that travellers take out insurance and ensure they are content with the cover it provides. Further information is available on our guidance:

https://www.gov.uk/guidance/cruise-ship-travel

 

International travel during a pandemic is very different and remains a personal choice which travellers should make using our travel advice and the best available sources. If you have furthers concerns about insurance you may wish to contact the Association of British Insurers.

 

Fair enough, it seems that the taxpayer isn't prepared to pay for for special charter flights or overnight accommodation for those who have been in contact with a Covid victim and have been refused boarding, even though I made it quite clear that (at the time of writing) there's no Insurer who is prepared to cover the liability for costs created by boarding refusal.

 

Cost-wise I've only scratched the surface but I'd welcome any feedback on a) what you think the chances of the above scenario happening and/or b) what help the cruise company reps at the port, are likely to provide.

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1 hour ago, Bertie Doe said:

a) what you think the chances of the above scenario happening

Sorry, but I am not understanding the (doomsday) scenario outlined in your original post #1.

 

On 9/20/2021 at 7:35 PM, Bertie Doe said:

You board your flight at say, Birmingham or Gatwick with 300 (double jabbed) passengers.

Are you assuming a charter flight with all 300 passengers on the flight boarding the same ship? If not how would anyone know that one of the passengers on the aircraft has tested positive after the flight?

 

On 9/20/2021 at 7:35 PM, Bertie Doe said:

However, at cruise terminal, someone tests positive and cruise-line is obliged to refuse boarding to all 300 passengers.

Why would the cruise line refuse boarding to anyone apart from the one person who tests positive?

 

Two of your statements do not equate:

1 hour ago, Bertie Doe said:

there's no Insurer who is prepared to cover the liability for costs created by boarding refusal.

 

On 9/20/2021 at 7:35 PM, Bertie Doe said:

Obviously Covid cover on the travel insurance will kick in, with regard to the one person testing positive i.e. medical, repatriation, hotel quarantine (if required) and also a full refund.

 

 

Bottom line is that it is up to each guest intending to cruise to check carefully what expenses their chosen cruise line and/or insurer will cover should they test positive before or during their vacation.

International travel has always involved certain challenges and risks; covid-19 has added another layer of complexity which will hopefully diminish over time.

Edited by flossie009
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The situation with P&O is that you have to show a negative PCR test result (taken within the last 72 hours) at the UK airport. You are then given  a LFT before you can check in for your flight. 

You are not tested on arrival in Barbados either at the airport, or at the cruise terminal, so the whole scenario imagined by the OP is wrong.

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Allow me to recap if I may. Imagine if you will, an aircraft carrying 300 passengers, arrives at the cruise terminal.

 

All passengers are tested at the cruise terminal. 299 test negative but one tests positive. All 300 will be refused boarding. Why are the 299 negative testing, double jabbed passengers, denied ship boarding?

 

It's because you've been breathing the same air as the positive tested passenger on the plane, for several hours and are therefore deemed a "contact" with the infected person. Obviously the cruise ship can't self isolate 299 people - so they refuse boarding.

 

Obviously, the one positive passenger will benefit from their covid cover cruise insurance. Sadly, the other 299 passengers are not covered for repatriation flights or any hotel costs. In fact, the largest UK travel insurer The Post Office (see earlier para), Exclusion 30 excludes  "Any claim which arises directly or indirectly from You not being allowed to board a flight, train, sea vessel, coach or bus for any reason" 

 

Of course, the Winter fly/cruise season is yet to get into full swing, so we'll have to wait and see how things develop. Clearly those negative testing "contactees" who are refused boarding will be very angry.

 

However, the remaining say 2000 passengers already on board, will no doubt feel safer and believe the cruise company did the right thing.

 

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54 minutes ago, Bertie Doe said:

All passengers are tested at the cruise terminal. 299 test negative but one tests positive. All 300 will be refused boarding.

IMO, this is an incorrect assumption.

 

56 minutes ago, Bertie Doe said:

It's because you've been breathing the same air as the positive tested passenger on the plane, for several hours and are therefore deemed a "contact" with the infected person.

Incorrect

 

 

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I wrote to 5 cruise companies, outlining a possible scenario where a passenger at say Manchester or Gatwick tests negative airport but positive at cruise terminal. This may be due to a faulty test or the test produced a 'false negative'. 3 of the companies simply referred me back to my insurer for a ruling. 2 were aware my concerns but I don't have permission to post the contents of correspondence in a public forum. However I will edit one letter [cruise company X], the gist of which is as follows :-

 

"I understand you are making an assumption that a passenger travelling on a plane may later test positive for Covid-19 (as of course they would not be permitted to fly if they tested positive just prior to the flight) then this person would contact the airline to advise them of their Covid-19 status in which case the airline would then contact all passengers onboard the flight to advise them of the close contact with a positive case  This is one of the many reasons we have a secondary health screening process during embarkation.

If a [Co. X] guest has been double vaccinated and tests negative, but advises us on the pre boarding health screening that they have been contacted as a close contact with a positive case within the last 14 days, then the guest would be denied boarding and FCCs would be set up for the cruise fare.  If the cruise holiday is booked as a package with [Co. X] with the flight included then guests who are denied boarding would be assisted by [Co. X] as the package provider.  However, guests who have made independent travel arrangements, or booked via a travel agent would have to claim for any out of pocket expenses via their travel insurance or for from the Airline themselves or via their travel agent.

You are correct in that [Co. X] cannot offer financial reassurance for every eventuality, it is just not possible.  We will evolve with the guidance as we can, and do our best to look after our guests, however the risk remains with any traveller when booking or travelling on an international holiday in these uncertain and challenging times during the Covid-19 pandemic.  Of course, International cruising is not yet available for our UK residents.

Our pre-boarding health screening protocols have already proved to be very successful with regards to our UK Seacations during our resumption of service, and we have assisted a small number of guests who have been denied boarding for the reasons stated above.  Our number one priority is protecting the health and well-being of all of our guests and crew onboard our vessels at all times."

 

The key sentences worth repeating from Para 2 are "If a guest has been double vaccinated and tests negative" and also "then the guest would be denied boarding and FCCs etc ..."

 

Of course FCCs only refer to cruise purchase price. No mention is made of the cost of return flights and accommodation. There's also the remote possibility, that the local authority may insist on quarantine for all 200 "contacts" on the UK to cruise terminal flight.
 

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The following incident happened in August and maybe cruise line protocols have improved or deteriorated a lot since then but you have to feel sorry for the coachload of passengers (contactees) removed from the ship. See Molecrochip's 2nd Para :-

 

https://boards.cruisecritic.com/topic/2796438-coach-passengers-testing-positive-at-terminal/

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What a lash-up this is now. 

I was seriously thinking about cruising again this winter or next year, but I can see that the industry is still totally unprepared to offer a normal holiday experience without the threat of your holiday being cancelled through no fault of your own, or no proven evidence of you having covid.  

 

Best of luck all of you. 

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