Before you travel
Travellers to and from Australia no longer need to provide evidence of their COVID-19 vaccination status. Travellers continue to be encouraged to be vaccinated for their own protection.
Cruise operators may have specific requirements for their passengers, and must also meet any requirements of the state or territory they are operating in. Check the requirements of your cruise operator and the states and/or territories and countries in which you will be travelling.
You should reconsider cruise ship travel if you are
- not up to date with your routine and travel vaccinations
- at increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19.
Cruise-specific travel insurance is recommended on both Australian domestic cruises and international cruises.
Make sure you choose a travel insurance policy that covers you for cruising, and any activities you do on shore. COVID-19 cruise cover varies depending on the provider.
No matter how healthy you are, we strongly advise you do not travel uninsured. The Australian Government won't pay for your medical costs when cruising domestically or overseas, or for medical evacuation costs.
Know the risks
Cruise ships carry a higher risk for spreading disease compared to other non-essential activities and transport modes. COVID-19, influenza, and other infectious diseases, such as gastroenteritis, spread easily between people living and socialising in close quarters.
Before you go you should get a health check and any vaccinations your doctor recommends (including routine vaccinations like tetanus).
If you are unvaccinated, you are at greatest risk of developing severe illness from COVID-19 and you should reconsider travelling on cruises.
Before you travel, check the Smartraveller advice on cruises and contact your travel agent or cruise operator for specific information on their COVID-19 safety protocols.
While on board
While on board you should continue taking steps to reduce your risk of contracting and spreading COVID-19 and other infectious diseases, including:
- practising physical distancing
- washing your hands frequently
- wearing a mask when recommended or if you feel safer wearing a mask
- getting tested if you have any signs or symptoms of COVID-19.
Cruise operators may require you to isolate on board or disembark the vessel if you become seriously ill with COVID-19 or any other illness. This includes if there is a major outbreak on board.
Before you travel, ensure you are aware of your cruise operator’s protocols, COVID-safe plans and boarding requirements.
Managing an outbreak on board
If an outbreak of COVID-19 occurs on your cruise, you could be subject to quarantine procedures on the ship, or cruise operators may require you to disembark and follow the local rules in the state or country you are in.
The Australian Government’s ability to provide consular services or support on board an international cruise ship is likely to be limited.
If travelling on an international cruise, Australians should be aware that medical standards in other countries may differ from Australia. Talk to your cruise operator about medical facilities and costs on board. Learn more about preventing infectious diseases.
Follow the cruise operator’s protocols for managing outbreaks and COVID-19 cases and close contacts on board.
Interstate and overseas cruises
You should check all travel and cruising requirements at all interstate and overseas stops on your voyage.
Every country or territory decides who can enter or exit through its borders. Being allowed to exit Australia doesn’t guarantee entry at your destination. It’s your responsibility to check what documents and requirements you need for interstate and overseas travel including:
- any necessary COVID-19 testing
- other COVID-19 measures such as mask wearing or proof of vaccination
- a valid passport
- a visa
- any compulsory insurance
The Australian-issued International COVID-19 Vaccination Certificate (ICVC) is a free and secure way to prove your COVID-19 vaccination history at international borders when you travel overseas.
Australian Government response
The risk of infection and transmission of COVID-19 on cruises cannot be eliminated.
The Australian Government has incorporated lessons learned from the pandemic and the Ruby Princess outbreak to allow the cruising industry to resume with risk mitigations in place.
The Australian Government continues to apply improved border measures including:
- enhanced pre-arrival reporting and identification of COVID-19 risk through more sensitive question sets and improved processes
amendments to legal frameworks under the Biosecurity Act 2015 to ensure the Australian Government maintains control over disembarkation
- stress testing through exercises of the emergency response system in relation to cruises.
Cruise industry protocols also help reduce the risk of COVID-19 transmission on cruise ships, including:
- vaccination requirements for passengers
- outbreak management plans
- COVID-19 safety plans.
State and territory governments are continuing to use and refine appropriate and consistent health protocols and guidelines to support the return of cruising in Australia.
For more information, please see our International travel page.