Cruise news: Over 65s may need doctor’s note to board ships new EU rules state

Over 65s are a huge customer base for cruises, which often appeal to older family units. However, new EU documents seem to suggest older travellers may need a doctor’s note to travel. To prepare for the cruise industry to get up and running the European Union has released a document full of measures to take to increase safety.


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The document was written alongside Healthy GateWays and co-funded by the Health Programme of the European Union.

It applies to point of entry of ships in the European Union and EEA member states.

The document was titled “Interim advice for restarting cruise ship operations after lifting restrictive measures in response to the COVID-19 pandemic.”

In it, advice for high risk groups seems to suggest special precautions including, potentially, a doctor’s note for the elderly.

Those who are 70 or over have been deemed to be clinically vulnerable to the illness.

So have those with asthma, heart disease, diabetes, those who have a BMI of 40 or above, are pregnant or are taking steroids.

The document reads: “Passengers in high risk groups including people over 65 years of age or people of any age with underlying medical conditions (chronic diseases including cardiovascular disease, diabetes, respiratory diseases and immunocompromised individuals) should be advised to visit a doctor for pre-travel medical consultation to assess if they are fit to travel.”

The advice also recommended activities on board be organised by age group.

It said: “Activities and services on board cruise ships could be organized according to age group, so that older individuals are separated from other age groups.

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“Crew members in high risk groups could work in positions where there is little or no interaction with other individuals.

“Moreover, advanced respiratory protection may be used specifically by crew members belonging to vulnerable groups.”

It is not known how long these precautions could be in place.

The documented said: “As long as the pandemic continues, special precautions may be applied to passengers and crew belonging to high risk groups.”


  • Cruise ships: When will cruise ships resume?

Major cruise lines have returned to sailing in a bid to get the industry back up and running.

Hurtigruten has returned to sailing, a Europe-based cruise line. 

It is running a 14-day cruise with a twist.

Travellers will not be disembarking from the vessel during the cruise.

Spain has banned cruise ships indefinitely “until coronavirus is over”. 

The Spanish government published an order which extends the current ban “until the end of the coronavirus crisis”. However, there is no specific time table given the nebulous nature of such a time scale.

Spain says the decision is “a proportionate, objective and non-discriminatory measure in line with the goal established by the WHO Emergency Committee to interrupt the spread of the virus.”

“The entry into Spanish ports of cruise-type passenger ships that make international voyages and navigate the waters of the territorial sea in order to enter Spanish ports open to international navigation is prohibited.”

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