Cruise ships

The arrival requirements for cruise ships are the same as for other ships. However, cruise ships may be visited by health officers as part of a First Port Surveillance Programme.

Note: cruise ships are not currently permitted to enter New Zealand under COVID-19 restrictions.

During the annual cruise season public health officials may visit passenger cruise ships making more than one-round trip visit to New Zealand. This is to ensure that the appropriate processes are in place to protect the health of passengers and crew on entering New Zealand.

Shipping agents

Health officers will notify shipping agents in advance of visiting a vessel. This enables shipping agents to advise ships that the visit will take place and ensures that public health officials receive the relevant security clearance.

Public health visits

The health officer will board the cruise vessel approximately two hours after arrival. A copy of the New Zealand Maritime Declaration of Health will be required.

The visit will likely include but not be limited to the vessel’s medical facilities. The vessel’s gastrointestinal surveillance log will be reviewed, and the illness rates checked against those reported in the Advance Notice of Arrival and the ‘No Change in Status’ message. Where there are discrepancies an explanation will be sought, and the ship’s officers will be reminded of their responsibility to notify cases of illness both on arrival and while in New Zealand waters. 

Face-to-face meetings with key personnel (master, chief engineer, doctor, food services) to confirm general ship operations, and a visual inspection of some areas will also be conducted.

Public health assistance

Health officers can provide assistance to ships in the following:

  • Medical assistance when illness is occurring amongst passengers or crew members on arrival
  • Assessment of sanitation practices
  • Disease prevention and control strategies
  • Laboratory analysis to confirm the cause of any gastroenteric illness on board.
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