Department of Health

Advice to the cruise industry: Reporting infections

Health risk mitigation measures specific to Victoria for all cruise vessels intending to enter or leave a Victorian port.

New cruise vessel reporting process

The new cruise vessel reporting process and advice outlined below is expected to come into force from 15th January 2024.

As this is a new process, Victoria will still accept the current reporting template past 15th January 2024 to accommodate cruise vessels transitioning to the new process.

All domestic and international cruise vessels operating in Victorian waters should follow this advice in conjunction with the Australian Health Protection Principal Committee (AHPPC) Statement – Advice to support safe cruisingExternal Link .


All crew and passengers should monitor carefully for symptoms of COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory viruses throughout their cruise.

If symptoms develop, people should be tested for COVID-19, influenza and other respiratory viruses.

Crew, passengers and others on board who are unwell or test positive to COVID-19 or influenza (flu)

It is strongly recommended that crew, passengers and others on board who have tested positive to COVID-19 or flu or have symptoms of acute respiratory infection or gastroenteritis (gastro):

  • stay in their cabin until they are well (minimum 5 days if COVID-19 positive)
  • wear a mask, practice good hand hygiene, and avoid crowded spaces if they must leave their cabin.

Those on board should be told about their potential to infect others. They should be given Victorian Health advice for COVID-19External Link , fluExternal Link , and gastroExternal Link .

Reporting outbreaks

All domestic and international cruise vessels travelling to a Victorian port should follow the AHPPC national approach to cruise ship outbreak reporting by completing the excel table below.

Cruise operators should routinely maintain an accurate manifest that includes personal contact details (such as email addresses and phone numbers) for contacting all passengers and disembarking crew after the cruise if necessary

Cruise operators should retain this manifest for a minimum of 30 days. Upon request, cruise vessel operators should provide this information to the requesting Local Public Health unit (LPHU) within 4 hours.

View the LPHU contact details at the base of the page.

For outbreaks of acute respiratory infections and gastroenteritis on board cruise vessels, cruise operators should email the relevant LPHU using the Cruise vessel routine reporting table as soon as possible when the following occur:

  • 12-24 hours prior to end of voyage.
  • On transition to ‘Level 2’ as defined in Table 1 in the Excel template
  • On entering Victorian jurisdictional waters where a ‘Level 2’ activity level was reported in the previous jurisdiction and maintained on entering Victoria.

Please note: Cruise vessels arriving in Victoria from an international port must also complete the required Australian Government documentation within the indicated timeframes.

After receiving the Cruise Vessel Reporting Table, the relevant LPHU will make contact with the shipping agent, master of the vessel, or the ship’s doctor if needed. This may include a request for additional line list reporting of cases to be provided using the following document for further assessment. This information should be provided within 4 hours of request.

The relevant Victorian LPHU may recommend further risk mitigation measures in addition to those introduced by the vessel. This will depend on the status of the outbreak on board the vessel, and whether there is a new or emerging public health or clinical risk identified.

Cruise vessel operators should also contact the relevant LPHU for any concerns regarding communicable diseases (e.g. outbreaks of illness of unknown cause, high rates of severe disease/requirements for medical evacuation, and/or operational compromise due to illness in crew). Operators should do this regardless of the above criteria being met.

Outbreak thresholds for acute gastroenteritis, COVID-19, and other acute respiratory infections (ARI) for reporting purposes

All reporting times are in Australian Eastern Daylight-saving Time (AEDT).

These are in addition to mandatory reporting through the Biosecurity Act 2015External Link .

Activity levelThresholdReporting
Level 10.0% to <3%1 of acute respiratory infections2 or acute gastroenteritisComplete the cruise reporting template within 12 to 24 hours prior to end of voyage (includes if 0 cases).
Level 2

≥3% of acute respiratory infections or acute gastroenteritis

For smaller vessels of fewer than 150 people on board, reporting should occur if increasing numbers of people are being affected.

Upon reaching threshold of 3% as soon as practicable

[1] This percentage refers to the cumulative attack rate over the last 21 days or voyage duration (whichever is shorter) of passengers and/or crew with any of COVID-19, influenza, acute respiratory infection (ARI) or acute gastroenteritis (AGE) individually, out of the total people on board the vessel.

[2] Acute respiratory infection (ARI) refers to the presence of respiratory illness symptoms (runny nose, cough, fever) irrespective of any test result.

Safety policies and procedures

The cruise vessel’s safety policies and procedures should address all elements of the passenger and crew experience.

This should include, but is not limited to:

  • Encouraging influenza and COVID-19 vaccination of passengers and crew according to ATAGI recommendations
  • Access to infectious diseases (including COVID-19 and influenza) testing for passengers and crew
  • Isolation of crew and passengers with infectious diseases while on board the vessel
  • Management of embarkation, disembarkation and shore excursions to minimise the risk of transmission of infectious diseases
  • Clinical assessment, support and evacuation procedures for passengers and crews with infectious diseases
  • Maintaining accurate logs of symptomatic passengers and crew, and of any causative organisms identified.

Victorian LPHU contact details

Station PierSouth East Public Health Unit (SEPHU)
Phillip IslandGippsland Region Public Health
GeelongBarwon South West Public Health
PortlandBarwon South West Public Health
Webb Dock WestWestern Public Health Unit (WPHU)

Reviewed 14 January 2024


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