The Gibbons family is one of many caught up in new travel restrictions announced by the government. Image by PR HANDOUT IMAGE PHOTO


NSW family feels safer onboard cruise ship

2020-03-18 16:53:04

Confinement on a cruise ship in close contact with thousands of people in the middle of a global pandemic sounds like a nightmare.

But a NSW family says they feel safer on board than in the community.

Andrew Gibbons’ family of four knew their eight-day cruise to Vanuatu and New Caledonia aboard the Carnival Splendour was likely to be impacted by the evolving COVID-19 pandemic.

But they didn’t expect to be rushed home early nor to require self-isolation.

However Mr Gibbons, 40, on Tuesday told AAP being stuck on board the ship wouldn’t be the worst possible outcome.

“Look, no one really wants to be stuck and not able to get home,” he said.

“(But) there are no known cases on board, In fact, there’s a sense that we’re safer here than being in Sydney.”

He says staff and guests on board have been hyper-vigilant with hygiene and everyone seems to be in good health.

“From day one there have been staff to serve everything, even ice cream cones,” Mr Gibbons said.

“There are signs everywhere saying to wash your hands. I haven’t heard anyone on board coughing.”

The Carnival Splendour’s early docking in Sydney about 8pm on Tuesday will likely pose a bigger risk than staying on board, Mr Gibbons said.

“We’re being dumped in Sydney and being told we need to be in isolation, but with no guidance on how to make that happen,” Mr Gibbons, who lives two hours outside Sydney, said.

“Some people have to travel internationally to get home, some people have to travel interstate, so that’s caused quite a bit of stress.”

After the ship docks, guests will be responsible for getting themselves home, many by public transport.

“It seems strange to have to go into isolation for 14 days but still be able to get on planes and trains with other people without any measures at all,” Mr Gibbons said.

The Cooranbong-based Gibbons family is one of many caught up in new travel restrictions announced by the federal government on Sunday.

All overseas travellers are required to self-isolate for 14 days and international cruise ships are barred from docking for 30 days.