Lessons learned for COVID-19 in the cruise ship industry

Brewster R.K.,
Sundermann A.,
Boles C.
Document Type
Source Title
Toxicology and Industrial Health
SAGE Publications Ltd


The coronavirus disease 2019 (COVID-19) pandemic has created widespread disruption in individuals’ personal and occupational lives all around the world. Vacationers and tourism, recreation, and leisure employees were among those who experienced substantial disruption. Cruise ships, especially, faced turmoil on a global scale for both their customers and workers. COVID-19 outbreaks were reported on cruise ships beginning in February 2020, presenting new and unique challenges for the industry. Conditions on cruise ships, including close and frequent contact between passengers and crew members, use of common areas, the confined nature of the vessels, and gathering of passengers from different countries, aided in transmitting the disease both onboard and in the community. As the pandemic evolved, federal and state governments and industries worldwide, including cruise ship companies, developed response plans. In this article, we provide a high-level overview of the US government and cruise ship industry’s response to the COVID-19 pandemic, as well as a brief commentary on lessons learned, and recommendations for the cruise ship sector going forward. The outlined suggestions may be used as a starting point to increase emergency preparedness and to inform outbreak response plans in the event of future infectious disease outbreaks. © The Author(s) 2020.

Migration angle
Region/Country (by coverage)
Index Keywords

epidemic; epidemiology; human; pandemic; practice guideline; prevention and control; procedures; safety; ship; travel related disease; United States; Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, U.S.; COVID-19; Disease Outbreaks; Guidelines as Topic; Humans; Pandemics; Safety Management; Ships; Travel-Related Illness; United States