Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines are now banning anyone holding a Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passport from their ships regardless of whether they have recently visited China.
While most other cruise lines are stopping Chinese travellers from sailing if they were resident or travelled through China in the past two weeks, the lines are taking an extraordinary step in imposing a blanket ban.
“Any guests holding a Chinese, Hong Kong or Macau passport, regardless of when they were there last, will not be allowed to board our ships,” Royal Caribbean said.
This means even Chinese passport holders, who may be resident in another country and may not have been in Greater China for weeks or even months, are banned.
It leaves the companies open to accusations of discrimination.
Recent history suggests this is a move that could potentially damage the cruise lines’ business long term in Asia.
New York assemblyman Ron Kim called out the misinformation and abuse being suffered by Asians due to fear mongering over the coronavirus outbreak.
It comes as a Royal Caribbean ship that docked in Bayonne, New Jersey was delayed after a number of Chinese guests were tested and four were taken to hospital out of ‘an abundance of caution’.
None were found to have the coronavirus and three of the four actually had the flu.
However, earlier in the cruise, a Filipino crew member was found dead on the ship but law enforcement says it is almost certainly unrelated to the virus.