Hmmm: Royal Caribbean Bans Chinese Passport Holders (And More)

Filed Under: Travel

Update: Royal Caribbean has backtracked on this policy. See here for everything you need to know.

I’m not sure if I’m missing something obvious, but it seems to me like this crosses the line…

Travel providers are being hit hard by coronavirus

While all kinds of businesses are suffering as a result of the coronavirus, it goes without saying that travel companies are among the hardest hit, as many people cancel travel plans given the constantly evolving situation.

Airlines, hotels, and cruise lines, all face different challenges.

I don’t write about cruise ships a lot here (even though I’m going on two cruises this year, for the first time in over a decade — wish me luck!), though there are some cases of cruise ships having passengers who tested positive for coronavirus, and they’re being quarantined.

Royal Caribbean’s coronavirus policy

I think most travel providers are acting in good faith with the policies they’ve put in place, even if companies have taken very different approaches. And then you have Royal Caribbean.

The cruise line has today updated their policies for dealing with coronavirus, as they work to protect the safety of their guests and crews.

For the month of February 2020, Royal Caribbean is banning anyone with a Chinese, Hong Kong, or Macau passport from boarding their ships, regardless of residency.

In addition to this, Royal Caribbean has tightened their health screening requirements, and the following guests will have to undergo extra screenings:

  • Anyone that has been in contact with individuals that have traveled from, to, or through mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau in the last 15 days
  • Anyone that feels unwell or demonstrates flu-like symptoms
  • Any guest presenting with fever or low blood oximetry in the specialized health screening will be denied boarding

The company claims that these decisions were made “in alignment with new, stricter CDC protocols, plus changes in various countries’ requirements and regulations.”

The policy here that really seems to cross the line is that they are rejecting anyone with a Chinese, Hong Kong, or Macau passport, regardless of where they live. If you have one of those passports but are a permanent resident in another country and haven’t even been to Greater China in the past decade, you still wouldn’t be allowed on one of their ships? How on earth do you justify that?

For what it’s worth, they quote that their new policy is in alignment with CDC policies, though I see nothing from the CDC suggesting people should be restricted due to their national origin or passport.

Is there something obvious I’m missing here, or does Royal Caribbean’s policy cross the line?

(Tip of the hat to Traveling Tiffani)

  1. Welcome to trumps america. Fear mongering based on national origin is now the norm. Better have the right papers and the right skintone

  2. @ DaninMCI — And how does banning someone who potentially hasn’t been to China in years help with this serious pandemic?

  3. This is very interesting. We’ve got a Celebrity Cruise booked for the end of March and have received multiple notices over the past week. Nothing has stated that passport holders of certain locals will be flat out denied boarding.
    Even on Celebrities website I don’t see anything listing the outright exclusion of certain passport countries, and Celebrities parent company is Royal Caribbean.

  4. Yes, because if you are a Chinese national (or look like one), you are MUCH more likely to be a carrier for cononavirus even if you haven’t been back to Mainland China recently.

    *Eye-roll – sarcasm off

  5. …but not a passport of the Republic of China on Taiwan?

    If so, wonderful. There are few cases there, all of them originating from the mainland.

  6. This isn’t just Royal Caribbean. We have a cruise on Crystal Cruises coming up soon. PRC passports are denied boarding. In addition, if you have transited in China, Hong Kong or Macau, 14 days prior to the cruise commencing, you’ll be denied boarding as well. We just had to change our flights from CX to Singapore.

  7. Royal Caribbean’s racist policy will just shoot themselves in the foot.

    When Chinese people start picking it up and spreading it on WeChat or whatever, and then state media picks it up, they’re going to have a hard time courting Chinese business when the pandemic is over.

  8. Completely justified. I heard that in fact, it was not animal to human transmission that started this but was passport to human transmission. Any Chinese passport can be a carrier. Gotta totally true, I read it on the internet.

  9. My guess is that there is no CDC policy this is aligned with …

    BUT, I bet lawyers at Royal Caribbean are concerned that they may have some liability if they let an infected individual onto their ship. Even if the Chinese passport holder lied about where they live/how recently they’ve been to China, etc. Concerns around any Chinese passport holder is overkill but a conservative legal team would make the decision anyway.

  10. China wont share migration information. The cruise ship industry cannot determine if an individual has visited China, be it last week or last year. Proving you didn’t visit China is a bit like proving you didn’t owe taxes.

    And no, I don’t think it will help. The travel industry is in a very bad place. As of today, the virus is another type of flu but a flu without a flu shot and a flu that infect the masses. The old and the young and compromised immune system are the 2% that will die when infected. The medical care systems will be overwhelmed.

  11. How do you prove that you haven’t been to China recently? – show your passport?

    If you are a Chinese green-card holder with global entry, there are no entry stamps in your passport for entering the US. I don’t know if China stamps passports of Chinese nationals. If not, then we have a situation where there would only be a digital trail of you being out of the US. How would the cruise line deal with that?

    I’m just guessing here.

  12. Thanks for calling out xenophobia where you see it. It shouldn’t be tolerated at a corporate level, will avoid Royal Caribbean “like the plague”

  13. @ Abe — I have a German and US passport. I could enter China on one, and show the other on my cruise. How could they prove I’ve been to China?

  14. “Anyone that has been in contact with individuals that have traveled from, to, or through mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau in the last 15 days”. Perhaps it is all a reaction to what is happening with the “Diamond Princess”. However, there is a chance you may inadvertently come into contact with someone. I have been in a hotel for several weeks, as such there is a possibility I have come into contact with someone that meets their criteria – without knowing it. An “Information for Hotel Guests” letter was left in my hotel room during the week. It was issued by Dept of Health (Australia). I hope you do a report on your cruise. I am also doing by first cruise (expedition!) to Antartica later this year – excited but apprehensive as very much an independent traveller…

  15. @qasr “Concerns around any Chinese passport holder is overkill but a conservative legal team would make the decision anyway.”

    Uh, what now? Blatant discrimination on the basis of national origin is not a risk-averse legal decision. You are GUARANTEED to be sued.

  16. The cruise lines have no ability to verify whether a passenger has been to China. Then, banning Chinese passports is the only sure way to rule out a large swath of potential virus carriers. Seems like a common sense thing to do.

    And anyways, the Chinese should not go on any cruises or travel right now so as not to spread the disease.

  17. @SteveL If you don’t see the problem with this, you are likely part of the problem. This is not called common sense. It’s xenophobia and racism.

  18. Well right or wrong that decision has already been made – it doesn’t make sense as being a dual citizen I travel out of my home country on one passport and enter visiting countries on the other – particularly the US – they’d never know Ive been to China ! Not that I have in years

  19. I thought this was outrageous at first, but if indeed there is no way to verify from Chinese passports if a person has been in China recently then maybe its not an unreasonable policy given the extreme consequences we are seeing with cruise ships. You can’t trust people to tell the truth about where they have been and it just takes one.

  20. Thank you Ben!

    I am a China passport holder and have US green card. I am grateful reading your post today while I have seen a lot of racism against Chinese people else where.

    Banning people simply by passport is surely not appropriate. I guess the Cruise companies don’t have other simply solution so just take the quick and dirty method.

  21. I Don’t get the outrage? These are BUSINESSES, for profit, not charities. You really downplay the situation regarding the current ships being quarantined, and may not fully comprehend the impact on this industry.

    I mean, crunch the numbers quickly on how much Princess is losing by not just having a ship out of service in Japan, but having to continuously pay for and care for the guests onboard that are quarantined. They were paid for what, a 7 day vacation, and they are now expected to cover costs for 21ish days with zero revenue inbound? You think China is going to step up and cover the revenue loss?

    So Royal Caribbean is watching out for its guests and shareholders alike, and should be applauded for this swift action, not taken to task for it.

  22. It’s gonna be a whole new thing if Coronavirus started in, hmm, Canada. Discriminating Chinese is the political accepted thing in western world. Anyone who thinks this is common sense, you are part of the problem. See it and own it. Unless you don’t want to ‍♂️

  23. Pandemic!? LOL. Influenza kills 650,000 people each year worldwide. 35 million people get the flu each year in the US (seems high, but that is the official number) killing 34,000 last year.

    Corona”SUN”virus has infected 31,000 “officially” killing less than 700 to date over what would be a 1/3 or even 1/4 flu season….soooooooo

    Think on that.

    People are just bored, waiting for Betelgeuse to explode, and so creating drama.

  24. @Ben – As a Brazilian living in the US I have to carry proof of yellow fever vaccine to enter Thailand and a range of other countries in the middle east – just because of my nationality. Other nationalities just have to prove they haven’t been to Brazil in the last X days.

    If I don’t have the proof of vaccine then I’m denied entry. Regardless of when I last visited Brazil.

    How is this different?

    Yellow Fever is prevalent in Brazil, hence all Brazilians are banned from entering Thailand -unless- they can prove that they don’t carry the disease.

    So far there are no proven vaccines for the coronavirus. If there were, I’m sure they would allow vaccinated people to board.

  25. This is clearly a racist policy but what is more disturbing to me is that most of the comments here don’t see it as being racist.

  26. Fyi, Singapore is also banning all PRC passport holders from entering/transiting. I called the embassy and they said even if you don’t clear immigration, you are still not allowed. Also India has suspended e-visa for all Chinese passport holders. So it’s not just private companies doing this.

  27. I think it is just think its easier for them to say this than to try and distinguish between potentially thousands of different possibilities of where these people live…better safe than sorry.

    and really, who give two kicks about a cruise line

  28. China stamps their own passports and doesn’t allow dual citizenship so it is very easy to tell if a Chinese passport holder has been to China recently. Who they should really be afraid of is dual citizens who might lie about not having been to China when they in fact have.

  29. I’m with you Chase. And to Lucky, cross the line? It’s THEIR business and they get to make the call. This is going to crush their business. Get one cruise here coming out of Miami with one person with coronavirus and you have to quarantine an entire ship for weeks. How may people right now do you think want to go on cruises with that possibility? And what does banning Chinese passport holders do, you ask? It lowers, but does not eliminate the possibility of that happening.

  30. And no, if you have recently issued PRC passport and go through e-gates, there will be no trace of you entering or leaving China. And if you have global entry with your green card, you also don’t get stamped coming into the US.

  31. This is pure discrimination as most people with common sense have already indicated.

    1. As WHO director said: viruses have no nationalities. He also recommended against travel restrictions.

    2. As viruses have no nationalities, then non-Chinese can carry the virus as well as already demonstrated in the official news reports. Banning outright those of specific national origins/passports are in the business of practicing racist methods.

  32. Did you not read the news about the Diamond Princess?

    Extreme measures have to be taken to protect their customers, crrws and their own business!

  33. If you can understand Chinese(or can find a translated version) check the Youtube videos, by citizen journalist Chen Qiushi, who risks his life to find the truth and has since been detained by authorities. The virus is highly contagious and have caused many more deaths and sick people than officially reported. In an environment like a cruise ship the risk of a mass infection is very high and even a country like Japan (where more passengers on cruise ship “Diamond Princess” are being diagnosed positive every day) lacks the resources to treat thousands of patients should they get infected. The situation is dire in China, to say it otherwise is ignorant. I think this is a very reasonable measure although not even sufficient. Royal Caribbean has actually even tweeted encouraging words to Princess Cruise, its competitor, who is going through this disaster with 3700 stuck on Diamond Princess and 61 out of 274 tested positive. (Japan says they do not have the capacity to test all 3700.) It has nothing to do with racism. In fact it is in everyone (including China)’s best interest the virus can be contained as soon as possible.

  34. @Ben (Lucky)

    There is no way to know for sure where someone has been because passports are not even stamped anymore in some countries and people may have renewed their passport or hold multiple passports. What I know is that someone who has a Chinese passport is more likely to have been to China, live in China or be in close contact with those in China than someone who doesn’t have a Chinese passport. The reality is it would make sense to ban all Chinese or Asians from traveling to western countries or traveling on cruises. It won’t happen because of political correctness but it would be the most effective way to stop the virus. Obviously Chinese people were the most exposed to the virus in wuhan and where it spread. If white countries had a deadly,virus of,course it would make sense for Japan to prohibit white people from traveling to japan for 2 months. Japan has a right to defend itself from a deadly virus even if it is not politically correct. Western countries have the same right.

  35. Royal Caribbean is doing the right thing. The virus originated from Chinese passports. It only makes sense to ban the holders of those passports. The virus could be dormant for a year too. This ban should be enforced for at least for that length as well.

  36. As John said above, Crystal Cruises is also banning PRC passport holders. And their parent company is a Chinese company, Genting Hong Kong.

  37. Thanks for this article, I was just thinking the same thing on how this is legal from a standpoint of an American living in Hong Kong. It’s blatant xenophobia not allowing Chinese passport holders who haven’t been in China recently to board. MORE so, someone like me who has an American passport, lives in Hong Kong, but definitely does not have the Corona virus. 100% this will affect them long term financially.

  38. Looking for an answer: I just boarded a Royal Caribbean cruise on Sunday in Texas. Our “screening” from Royal Caribbean was to ask me the above said questions. All of my answers were truthful, but what if others don’t answer truthfully because they don’t want their vacation canceled? There were many different nationalities on board our ship. This is not screening, it is hoping people are truthful & hope for the best.

    My question is this, am I right to think this “screening” is bs?

  39. I think They are concerned with who they may have come in contact with. Not necessarily that they actually went! Although anyone else could have come in contact with someone who traveled to China as well! So you are really dammed if you do and dammed if you don’t!

  40. Celebrity Cruises (Owned by Royal) has just cancelled out the MV Millennium’s season in Asia…..they just cancelled a cruise mid way through because the countries are closing their ports. RCL will soon do the same imho. As an FYI These cruiselines ship in 60% of their food and beverages in containers for the entire season…..The re rerouting of these ships is a logistical nightmare. I feel for the crews who rely heavily on tips. It’s a bloodbath in Asia right now for tourism…..Safe travels wished to all!

  41. Maybe it only applies to certain ports. Read this earlier…BREAKING: China to quarantine city of Shenzhen in Guangdong Province, causing “mad rush” to Hong Kong as (infected) citizens flee to other nations. Obviously we are not getting the truth about this whole thing. Coronavirus Count: 34,872 infected; 724 dead. Considering the Communism Virus killed 60 million, I wouldn’t be in a panic mode just yet.

  42. Based on current trends, it is quite possible you will end up quarantined at the end of your cruise no matter what your citizenship. I think the cruise lines have bigger issues to deal with than being openly discriminating against passport holders of a country were less than a tenth of a single percent have had the misfortune of being infected.

  43. Oh stop with all this “It’s always racism” excuse for everything in the world you don’t like or understand! This policy applies to everyone REGARDLESS OF ETHNICITY and is a common sense policy to ensure the safety of their passengers. China does not properly or accurately report their passport information and it’s not always possible to know if a person holding a Chinese passport has been there recently or not. I am leaving on a Royal Carribean Cruise in 17 days and received an e-mail from them today informing me of their updated policy. I commend them for taking all necessary steps to ensure my family and I have a great time catching waves, not a potentially fatal virus.

  44. Two useful questions that aren’t answered by this article:
    1) are affected people being offered refunds or rescheduled cruises?

    2) Has anyone figured out if Royal Caribbean is allowing people to reschedule in advance? I have a cruise scheduled in this time frame, and I am deeply concerned that increasingly paranoid responses by the cruise industry and others are going to blow up our trip. I would rather just reschedule than risk a mess.

    We traveled for a month in China recently, though we are outside of time frame of their concerns.

    Excluding by nationality? That opens a whole can of worms, and strikes me as openly racist and xenophobic. Unless you’re telling me that Royal Caribbean et. al. are prepared to exclude Israelis and Jews they know the next time we have something like MERS, or exclude Americans the next time we have something like the 2009 H1N1 outbreak. It just looks bad to do this to some nationalities, when we all know quite well that they’d never risk the PR blowback that would result from excluding others.

    When times are tough, people and companies have a way of showing their true colors.

  45. I think Royal Caribbean crossed the line. Why aren’t they banning people with Japanese, South Korean, and Singaporean passport? Last time I check, those countries had just as many confirmed cases as HK & Macau. I hope ACLU can look into this and this new spread like a fire in China. When the this pandemic is over, I hope China will ban them from docking in any of the Chinese ports.

  46. Ben you should really update this article. NCL has followed suit. Looks like Royal’s move is simply blazing a trail.

  47. Chase is completely correct… and frankly, let’s not hold our business and national interest to a higher standard here solely on behalf of China as we all know China would treat us worse if the situation were reversed. In a drop of a hat China would swiftly ban any group it wanted if there was a whiff of a risk to the communist party and its national interest.
    Based on your post lucky I’m surprised you’re not protesting the cancellation of flights to China by IS airlines. The arguments are virtually the same.

  48. It is definitely crossing the line when banning individuals based on nationality based on “more likely to have been in contact with the virus”. It’s like convicting people because of a racial/local group they belong to have a higher criminal rate.

  49. Hi Lucky, my friend’s family just got denied boarding(02/07) on a Royal Caribbean ship today at Port Canaveral without any advance notice. Both of them are US permanent residents. They finished all pre-boarding procedures including the health screening. Then they got hold at the check-in area without any explanation. Royal Caribbean wasn’t even able to provide an official document of this terrible decision until 2hrs later. Also, the cruise company only agreed to refund the cruise cost, but declined to reimburse any flight or hotel expense!

  50. We disembarked our cruise back in Texas this morning. I guess I’ll report back after a couple of days, a Dr. appointment (my husband thinks I’m crazy, ha) & more news filters in.

  51. I don’t understand the low blood oximetry screening. Many older adults with chronic diseases (I.e. all of those passengers who swipe the poolside chairs in the AM) would fail this criteria.

  52. It’s funny because hardly anyone I talk to even remember h1n1 in 09 which originated in the US. It infected 20m in the US alone but you never saw airlines canceling flights to the US wholesale or people looking at Americans with suspicion. But when it originates in China, all of a sudden its the Chinese virus and everyone there must have it…

  53. Me and my wife lived in Canada for the past two years and she holds a Chinese passport.

    Seven days before our cruise, we received this email that she will be denied boarding. When we call norwegian cruise, they have bad attitude and told us that we won’t be refunded neither because we didn’t select purchasing travel insurance for incident like this.

    I’m beyond anger and would urge all Asian people from going with these two cruise companies. Royal Caribbean and norwegian. Completely Garbage.

  54. The H1N1 pandemic in 2009 killed 12,000 Americans, sent 265,000 Americans to the hospital, killed more than 250,000 people as it spread worldwide, and ended up infecting more than 1 in 6 Americans. The pandemic was partially the result of Americans’ strange mass farming practices and bizarre food choices. I suppose the next time something like this happens in America, and it surely will, China, Europe, and others will be fully justified in their responsible decision to bar entry to Americans, cancel flights in and out of our disease-ridden country, deny entry to people who have consorted with Americans, and limit the importation of potentially dangerous American products. Right?

  55. ” I have a German and US passport. I could enter China on one, and show the other on my cruise. How could they prove I’ve been to China?”

    I guess you have a devious mind. you could have entered but you didn’t go. because of the virus, right? now the virus is out, people are infected around the world, and after the sars incident, everyone is wary of china’s ability to deal with the virus or truth in general. countries and airlines (western and asian) have applied this same directive regarding mainland chinese passport holders. it isn’t racism, so what is your beef? are you worried about the travel plans of people from a country that you just declined to visit, due to the virus, not being able to get on a cruise ship. perhaps another cruise ship like those already quarantined? if your skin isn’t in the game, it’s sounds like righteous indignation is as comfortable as a warm bath.


  56. I am a Macau resident who living in Macau. Haven’t been to China since Dec 2019. Am also a American citizen. Bonus: I also have Portugal Passport. In fact, they can’t stop me from boarding their ship. Because I can chose between Portugal or America passport. But don’t worry. I am not interesting at Royal Caribbean. 🙂

  57. Royal Caribbean is offering refunds to the the person banned only. I booked 5 rooms for a family vacation and one member has a Chinese passport despite. They refused to refund the rest of the group even though we wanted to cancel since one of our family is banned from going. I wish they would at least have the decency to refund everyone in the group.

  58. @jack they have to refund in full if they are refusing you. I would ask them why they are prohibiting a Canadian resident If it’s due to the Chinese passport , despite living outside Asia and not having been there for 2 years or so , it’s xenophobic.
    Can you imagine I’m if they had a question asking customers’s sexuality and prohibiting them from travel on the grounds that gay people carry HIV

  59. Yes pandemic.

    The seasonal flu kills < 0.1% of those who contract it, and there's a vaccine which anyone with half a brain gets annually. Unfortunately only 4.5% of the global population gets it, so the number of people infected is huge.

    The 2019-nCoV has been killing ~4% of those infected. There's no vaccine for it.

  60. I’m with Lucky on this one. I’m not calling out xenophobia or racism, but this action seems unilateral on RC’s part and gave me a pretty sick feeling. If cruise lines feel they have no choice but to do this, then act decently and give full refunds and reimbursements of travel/hotel expenses incurred by the affected travelers who had no control over the situation. They shouldn’t be hanging travelers like Joshua H’s friends above out to dry.

    @ Joshua H. If I were in your friends’ shoes I would be incensed. RC should have done more for them.

  61. @ Jack. That’s even worse than RC! Full refund of the cruise portion should be the absolute minimum of what Norwegian should have done.

  62. Lucky, I do think they are overreacting, but this is clearly a reaction to the Diamond Princess incident.
    1 man infected 64 (and counting) people on that ship, and they are spending a lot of money quarantining that ship, not to mention the reputation hit on them.
    You should mention that as a background.

  63. Absolute r a c i s m.

    How many people are currently infected with influenza in the US?

    How many people have died this year in the US from influenza?

    How many people in the US aren’t inoculated for influenza this year?

  64. Cruise ships are cesspools anyway. I hope Royal Caribbean and all its affiliates have a cholera outbreak throughout the line and all of their ships go into quarantine. This policy is disgusting.

  65. Better be safe then sorry. Clearly China royally screwed up with the coronavorus response by jailing the whistleblower doctor. Who knows what else the Chinese are hiding.

    All the people claiming racism are idiots.

  66. This is clearly not racist. It’s a move against Chinese passport holders. Not against ethnic Chinese. It discriminates based on nationality and not race, based on the fact that 98% of the illness is occurring in China.

  67. What is telling to me, is that all WHO, medical and epidemiological experts, have all said that that total quarantine measures, are not required to stop the spread of this disease. Most governments usually expert advice. The question should be why are they not with this current pandemic. Do they think they are experts in epidemiology? Are they pampering to voters with no knowledge in this area? Dressing xenophobia in the emperors clothes? Attempting bring a country into line? No matter how undemocratic the Chinese government is, that doesn’t mean Chinese citizens should be discriminated against. After all they didn’t vote for that government.

  68. Yeah, this isn’t racism. Xenophobic, possibly. But if you’re Chinese with non-Chinese citizenship, this won’t apply to you.

    In any case, better to try and go after the people who have been to China recently, regardless of nationality. A Chinese person living in say, Canada for the last 2 years and hasn’t been to China at all is more of a risk than a Canadian citizen who has visited China in the last month? Ok then.

  69. If it is racism to protect your family based on evidence then either the word needs to be discontinued or racism means being logical and sensible. People are afraid of making smart decisions based on race because they have been programmed by years and years of schooling and media to ignore what is right in front of them. Here we have a dangerous virus and what, the western world isn’t supposed to protect itself because of political correctness? It’s the same thing with ignoring that certain groups commit a disproportionately high amount of violence and support less freedom yet we are supposed to welcome them with open arms.

  70. Virgin Atlantic just updated travel advisories to now include you can’t fly to Hong Kong if you have visited China, I wonder how long until others follow;

    “Due to the ongoing situation with the Coronavirus the following Governments have made the decision to restrict entry for foreign visitors who have travelled to China (excluding Hong Kong and Macau).”

    Customers due to travel to:

    Hong Kong who have been to China (excluding Macau) in the last 14 days, will not be allowed to travel

    Hong Kong nationals are exempt from the restriction however will still be subject to quarantine for 14 days on arrival if they have travelled to China (excluding Macau) in the last 14 days

  71. So I was reading through some of Royal Caribbean tweets to upset travelers. If I understood them right it seems that certain countries their ships visit are banning entry of Chinese passport holders, similar to what the US is doing. Again, I’m not sure if read the posts correctly but my understanding is that Royal Caribbean is afraid their ships will be denied entry at the various ports they enter if their manifest has Chinese passport holders onboard.

  72. Time to reread Poe’s The Masque of the Red Death. The best we can hope for is too slow the spread of this plague to buy more time to find a vaccine before it overwhelms our world’s porous borders and walls. Racism, xenophobia, fear mongering or skin tone are not the motivating factors in attempts to slow the spread of the plague from China. Public safety trumps political correctness any day.

  73. I’m the one who received this email from RC originally. It is concerning a Caribbean cruise leaving from Tampa at the end of the month, not an Asian one.

    Reading some of the replies from the Chinese passport holders who live in the USA or Canada is exactly what I was afraid of when I read this.

    I hope RC at least refunds entire groups who cannot go because one person is denied boarding. It seems to be the least they can do.

  74. Maybe in order to avoid being accused of discrimination based on race or nationality, RC should ban anybody who has or ever had a passport, regardless of nationality!

  75. Singapore has almost double the infection rate than in Hong Kong. Are they banning Singapore passport holders to board their ships as well?

  76. Plenty of Brits, Americans, and others live and work in China and HK, so if Royal Caribbean’s intentions are to protect passengers, it would be checking who actually may have been in contact with persons from Wuhan. Instead, its new policy pretty much assumes all Chinese persons across the globe must be fresh off the boat and/or must all know each other. Anyone who thinks that is merely sound business strategy and not racist at all is delusional. However, not all at surprised at RC’s new policy as it seems very useful for reassuring the not-so-bright cruise ship masses to keep boarding ships that are notorious for food poisoning, norovirus, and crime.

  77. Help me out here, does a china passport receive a stamp when entering or exiting China?

    If no, then how does a China passport holder, who is using that passport for cruise travel, prove that they hadn’t been in (Wuhan) China lately?

    Technically, this seems to ban a nationality, not a race/ethnicity. Practically, though, yes I understand that it’s overwhelmingly ethnic Chinese who are affected.

  78. Wonder when they ban US passport holders then….
    Gun deaths in the the US is around 1,000 persons every single month (assault only). So one could say it significantly more dangerous with a US citizen on board than a Chinese citizen….

    Another figure:
    Every single month over 50,000 people are dying from “normal” flu – according the WHO.
    So even if the number of deaths are 100 times higher thant the official number – it is still less than the toll of the “normal flu” at this stage.
    And if it really was “highly” contageous – then we would very different numbers in people affected.

  79. There are many Hong Kong and Macau residents entitled by law to hold British (BN(O)) and Portuguese passports respectively. I wonder if this is an easy workaround?

  80. My mom is green card holder, with Chinese passport, has been in US for years, matter of fact since she couldn’t speak English well and drive, she mostly stays in a small neighborhood, in US. She has least possibility to catch even a cold. Now she can’t go anywhere just because she has a wrong passport?!

  81. “Jeff says:” “Discriminating Chinese is the political accepted thing in western world. ”

    I’ll play along “Jeff.” Maybe it’s karma for your discrimination of the Uyghurs.

  82. @Sonia “someone like me who has an American passport, lives in Hong Kong, but definitely does not have the Corona virus.”

    It appears Sonia has already made the rationalization for why she is going to attempt to evade any legitimate quarantine protocols that may apply to her.

  83. Thanks, Ben, for your principled stance. OK so the virus came from China, but I cannot believe they’re blaming this on the Chinese. Literally *what* connection is there between that?

    If you ask me, it’s a racist and xenophobic attack on the fundamental right of the Chinese to board cruise ships in America.

  84. Also, to all the racists: Ben is right. People can just show their other passport. And like, if they like have a home in China, like, why don’t they stay in one of their other homes? Uh, hello, people? Are you like listening?

  85. @Kendor. I agree with you. But the biggest difference between 2009 outbreak and 2019 Corona virus are smartphones, Fakebook, Russian trolls and Twitter. That makes people panic and makes the situation much more worse than in 2009. Next animal flu in the US will have the same result. Now everybody knows that the US government was far too slow in 2009 and also in 2017. So we can expect a huge ban worldwide of Americans with the next outbreak in the US.
    China was too late, that is the failure of the system. So what they did with locking in 50 million (and actually much more), was to try to prevent spreading the virus. But it happened already in the first month. Britains in France get the virus and they never went to China. One of their friends picked it up in a meeting in Singapore. The American closure of the border or the ban from RC does not make sense at all. Even measuring the temperature or wearing mask does not prevent almost anything. Besides it gives you a false feeling of safety.
    I think RC will be blocked by Chinese in the future, that is the power of weiqin, twitter and fakebook. So in the end, because they don’t want to screen people carefully, there will be probably much less Chinese tourist for them in the future. Let’s see if they can still make a profit in the coming 10 years.

  86. Thanks for this. I was thinking of the same thing too! I can’t wait for the Chinese to pick up this news and avoid Royal Caribbean and any other companies that are racists. Saying “regardless of residency” is something else. You can be a Chinese passport holder who lives in the US and hasn’t been to China for years. Calling all other Chinese to boycott the Royal Caribbean for its racists’ policy.

  87. You have to love the idiots who think that this is illegal. They cruise worldwide and aren’t even a us owned company. The libs at the aclu are going to stop this? Lol.

  88. @DianeJ I think you will find that Genting is a Malaysian company quoted on the Kuala Lumpur stock exchange and owned by many shareholders . It is not a Chinese company . False News

  89. @DianeJ I checked and Genting Hong Kong is a public company listed on Hong Kong stock exchange with 17% owned by Malaysia parent Genting. Rest will be owned by various shareholders in many countries including institutional investors , mutual funds etc . So as I said , NOT a Chinese company .
    I should explain here that people like me who lived in Hong Kong for 25 years and many Hong Kong people including my wife who was born there do NOT consider that Hong Kong is China . Hong Kong is a Special Administrative Region , of China . BIG DIFFERENCE .

  90. My mom is a Chinese passport holder who has lived in the US since 1990. She hasn’t been to China in over a year. We got the RC notice on Friday night, two days before we were going to embark. We called to cancel the trip. Just like someone stated above, they only wanted to refund her cabin even though this is a family cruise and we had adjoining rooms. We told them if she couldn’t go, we couldn’t go. CSR on the phone was sympathetic but talked to her supervisor who was ridiculously rude to us. So, I hung up and tweeted them. Once I hit 7000 views, they asked me to DM them and then agreed to refund the whole family. If you have any type of social media presence, it is worth a try to Twitter shame them. Travel bans based on nationality are not science based…should be based on recent travel.

  91. Who’s RC? #idontknowher

    Truth of the matter is I wouldn’t go on any cruise right now until this whole thing blows over. All you need is just one person who can contaminate the whole ship regardless citizenship. Unless you are staying in a presidential suite, life in a small quarter without the possibility of getting off is pretty miserable especially you are staying in one of those rooms without a window!

    Any cruise line banning a person with Chinese passport will have to say goodbye to hundreds of millions of business down the line. China is very good at playing the long term game. Chinese in the coming few decades will surpass Americans as the biggest travel spenders in the world. Shortsightedness of any cruise line will cost them dearly down the road.

  92. Why is the supposition have to be “it’s all about money?”

    Maybe health of humans is a consideration here?

  93. I think it’s safe to say that cruising industry in Asia is officially dead.
    Especially if more companies do the same thing.

  94. I am a US resident alien with Chinese passport and havent been back to China for a while now. I booked a cruise with Norwegian Encore set to embark on 02/09 Sunday. I received a notification on Norwegians app yesterday (02/07) telling me that they are banning anyone with a Chinese passport. In anticipation of not being able to board, I called Priceline to cancel my cruise this morning. I called customer service multiple times and struggled to get an official response in terms of how I will get a refund. All they asked me to do was to write a complain email to their guest relations and wait for a reply. This xenophobic and racist policy incurred real financial consequences for my family and what irks me the most is the lack of response and sympathy from Norwegians customer services. Now we paid all this money for this trip and we don’t even know how and when we are going to get the refund back and most of all, it is hurtful to just target all Chinese. I am not a virus but human.

  95. @ Abe — I have a German and US passport. I could enter China on one, and show the other on my cruise. How could they prove I’ve been to China?

    That’s one too many.

  96. @Aaron Your and Jack’s experience with Norwegian just makes my blood boil. I hope they resolve this fairly for you. This makes RC look good. At least RC refunds the affected passengers.

  97. @jing I am also seeking legal advices. This policy is completely unacceptable and racially charged. I am hoping for a class action suit!

  98. @Aaron @Jing
    My mom’s trip got cancelled, and now she has to stay in Toronto. She does not have to come here if not for the trip. I’m going to seek for legal advice too.

  99. RC website: “Royal Caribbean has ended its temporary general restriction on holders of passports from China, Hong Kong and Macau. The general restriction was adopted last week in response to numerous ports and governments around the world restricting travel for Chinese passport holders, often with little advance notice. “

  100. Slightly off topic, but a recent development on a KLM flight (2/12) from AMS to ICN (KL855).

    KLM Flight crew put signs outside of the economy toilets stating in KOREAN only (that someone clearly used Google translate to scribble): “Flight Attendant Toilet. Do not use”. However, on a flight full of only 10-15% Korean speaking passengers, this sign was not written in English. Not written in Chinese. Written ONLY in Korean.

    When Korean passengers asked about this to the FA’s (also caught on multiple videos), all of their responses were: “We are taking precautions to prevent the coronavirus from spreading”, or “We are protecting ourselves from the coronavirus”, or “If the attendants get the coronavirus, we can’t serve you food. This is a policy only to help all of you!”

    Maybe we can argue whether or not RC was taking precautionary measures, and argue whether it was a racist action, or a xenophobic one.. However, there is no argument with this KLM development. Atrocious to say the least.

  101. I just came across your blog after searching sth like is it racist to cancel an apppointment with someone from asia.. because I have one next week with three French men arriving from Japan where 29 people are infected. This may not be a large number but I read that the testing kit is in shortage there so not enough people are tested. I wanted to be safe than sorry especially as I live with an infant.. can this also be viewed as some sort of a discrimmination? being reluctant to meet people arriving from corona effected places?

  102. @Lora. I’m in Japan and almost everybody wears a mask here. So I advice you to wear a mask as well, and gloves too when you meat this people from Japan. After the meeting throw away everything, including your clothes and burn it. In case you can not find a mask, you can use a big plastic bottle and cut away the bottom, like Chinese do and put your head in the bottle. And don’t eat French fries for a month. Good luck.

  103. I am a canada resident alien with Chinese passport and I haven’t been back to China over one year. I booked a cruise with Royal Caribbean set to embark on 02/09 Sunday. I had been miami cruise terminal on 02/09/2020 morning. but they told me I was not able to board. I stayed miami 7 days to wait my return flight. that wasted my time and wasted my money.
    I am also seeking legal advice. This policy is completely unacceptable and racially charged. I am hoping for a class action suit!

  104. Ben your point is dumb. You’re acting like it’s about fundamental fairness to a single person or group of people (those from China). The priority of the world and everyone in it is to isolate exposure for the population that hasn’t been connected to the virus in any way. That will lead the resolution of the virus as quickly as possible (Including for the chinese) and serve the greatest good for the greatest number of people on the planet. Certainly some people who are chinese will be inconvenienced and not be able to take international cruise vacations this month. That is unfortunate, we are all quite sad for their suffering. They should have extended conversations amongst themselves about banning raw wild animal markets and not cutting up meat surrounded by blood and feces of live wild animals, perhaps that will prevent the problem in the future. If you’re actually a traveler then you already know not all passports get you into all places, and national origin is not fair. When it’s protecting far more people from getting sick I’m all for it.

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