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View of Flynn Cruiseport in Boston

On April 8 the 1st cruise ship is due at the Port of Boston. What’s the COVID19 plan?

PortandTerminal.com, March 4, 2020

BOSTON, MA – The first cruise ship of the 2020 season is due to arrive at the Port of Boston on April 8th, just 35 days from now.

To put 35 days into perspective, consider this. Just 35 days ago, on January 29th there were 7,700 confirmed cases of COVID19, or coronavirus, in the world. None were in the United States. Today there 94,250 confirmed cases in the world, with 128 of those here in the U.S.

Graph showing the increase of confirmed cases of covid19 with red arrows highlighting the number of cases on two dates.
Source: Coronavirus COVID-19 Global Cases by Johns Hopkins CSSE

So back to Boston. The Amadea cruise ship, which is owned by Phoenix Reisen, is scheduled to arrive at the port making it the first vessel to call on Boston in the 2020 season. Phoenix Reisen is a Germany-based travel agency that also operates a fleet of cruise ships. If you were wondering, Germany currently has 244 confirmed cases of the virus, about twice as many as there are here in the U.S.

Prior to calling on Boston, the Amadea will call on Newport, Rhode Island on April 7th and New York City on April 6th. As cruise ships go, the Amadea is a smaller, older vessel with room for just 600 guests and 280 crew. It was built in 1991.

Here’s some of what its owner Phoenix Reisen has to say about their coronavirus precautions as of March 3, 2020 – yesterday. You can find the full details by clicking here. Note that the site is in German only.

“Due to the currently occurring Corona Virus (2019-nCoV), all guests on board are asked to complete a questionnaire on their state of health requested by the port authorities”

“In addition to the cleaning and disinfection measures carried out on board, we particularly urge our guests to use the hand disinfection dispensers installed in the ships regularly and thoroughly.”

They also ask that any passengers who have visited or been in contact with someone who has visited China (or Hong Kong, Macau), South Korea, Iran or the Italian regions of Veneto and Lombardy or Emilia Romagna in the past 30 days to get in touch with them.

Finally, they make note that they will:

“…adjust the travel routes of our ships in consultation with the shipping company, should current changes in the current situation make this necessary.”

Massport Statement

PortandTerminal.com reached out to Massport spokesperson Jennifer Mehigan to find out what coronavirus precautions Flynn Cruiseport is taking as it readies itself for the 2020 season. Here’s what Massport has to say:

“Massport is in regular communication with our city, state and federal public health partners on matters that could impact passengers and employees at our Port and airport facilities”

“We began a coordinated effort with CBP and the CDC weeks ago for passengers arriving at Logan Airport from coronavirus impacted areas. We are prepared to begin a similar effort at Flynn Cruiseport Boston as needed.”

The bottom line is that America’s ports are not infectious disease experts. They’re ports. They rely on the leadership and support of governmental agencies like Customs and Border Protection (CBP) and the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to tell them how to keep people safe from disease.

All of this should scare the hell out of you right now.

Phoenix Reisen’s precautions boil down to passengers self-reporting where they’ve been and how they feel. That and keeping the ships clean, and encouraging passengers to wash their hands. Not very reassuring, high tech stuff.

Massport needs strong leadership from the CDC on how to handle this disease. There are growing concerns now in America though that the CDC is not giving that leadership to you, us and America’s cruise ports.

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