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Wednesday Letter: Cruise highly responsive to Covid, safer than most other environments

2 Nov 2022  By Contributor

New Zealand Cruise Association chief executive Kevin O’Sullivan hits back at criticism of the industry and highlights the measures taken to make cruises safer from Covid than many other settings.

Cruise is unreasonably targeted by critics when it has extensive measures in place to respond to Covid, says O’Sullivan. Image: NapierNZ

This week we again are seeing distorted attention on cruising, but the reality is that years of hard work and planning mean our industry is prepared for the season ahead and is already experienced in dealing with Covid-19.

As we’ve seen all over the world, cruise line health protocols are effective in mitigating the risks of Covid-19 and have allowed cruise lines and health authorities to respond swiftly when cases arise.

Other countries are well ahead of us on the curve. According to Cruise Lines International Association, millions of people have sailed successfully in more than 100 countries where ships have resumed sailing, and the effectiveness of the cruise industry’s pandemic response means close to 100% of the world’s fleet is back in operation.

Kevin O’Sullivan

Though we again see sensational headlines, our most important message holds true – no setting is immune to Covid-19, but the cruise industry and our own health authorities have processes in place for dealing responsibly with the virus. That is exactly what is happening.

Importantly, health authorities and political leaders around our region have shown confidence in the protocols and their role in the new environment we all live with, now that Covid-19 is endemic in our communities.

On land in New Zealand, there are many thousands of cases each day that don’t gain the same attention, but cruise is unreasonably targeted, even though ships have extensive measures in place to respond to any cases identified at sea. 

The industry’s onboard measures, enhanced medical facilities, and detailed response plans are still the most extensive to be found anywhere in tourism and go much further than those you will find in most settings on land.

It has been great to hear the positive comments from so many cruise passengers still able to have the same incredible cruise experience and enjoy their holidays with confidence.

The experience overseas shows this confidence will continue to grow as cruising’s resumption progresses. I know that we have this to look forward to in New Zealand.


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