Cruise Ship Health Surveillance Program

Cruise ships arriving in NSW ports

The NSW Cruise Ship Health Surveillance Program works closely with other government partners and the cruise ship industry to improve health surveillance on cruise ships and respond to outbreaks of infectious disease. 

The COVID-19 pandemic saw Australia close its borders to cruise ships in 2020 and 2021. Cruise voyages resumed in April 2022, with the first passenger cruise docking in Sydney on 4 June 2022.  Since the resumption of cruising, enhanced reporting of respiratory and gastrointestinal illnesses on cruise ships has been implemented in Australia. 

Members of the NSW Cruise Ship Health Surveillance team review human health reports that are submitted by cruise ships before they arrive in NSW ports. When cases of infectious diseases occur, or outbreaks of illness are reported, the team responds according to Health protocols. 

The aims of the program are to

  • Routinely review the human health reports submitted by cruise ships approaching NSW ports
  • Work with the ship's doctor and management to ensure appropriate disease control measures are in place
  • Encourage early communication of outbreaks of infectious disease
  • Encourage accurate health reporting
  • Routinely collate and publish aggregate human health data 

This report summarises the surveillance data of acute respiratory disease and acute gastroenteritis for cruise ships entering NSW ports. It also includes the results of the vessel inspection program.

    Peer reviewed articles

    1. Lun J, Hewitt J, Sitabkhan A, Eden JS, Enosi Tuipulotu D, Netzler NE, Morrell L, Merif J, Jones R, Huang B, Warrilow D, Ressler KA, Ferson MJ, Dwyer DE, Kok J, Rawlinson WD, Deere D, Crosbie ND and White P. (2018) Emerging recombinant noroviruses identified by clinical and waste water screening. Emerging Microbes & Infections 7:50. DOI 10.1038/s41426-018-0047-8.
    2. Lun, J, Ressler, KA, Ferson M, White, P. (2017). Norovirus and cruise ships. Microbiology Australia 10.1071/MA17065.
    3. Ferson MJ, Ressler K-A (2005). Bound for Sydney Town: health surveillance on international cruise vessels visiting the Port of Sydney. Medical Journal of Australia; 182: 391-394

    To contact the NSW Health Cruise Ship Surveillance Program email us or phone (02) 9382 8333 during business hours.