Skip to content

News Release
FOR RELEASE - March 11, 2020
Contact: Aaron Ellis, Public Affairs Director,
(703) 706-4714

American Association of Port Authorities
Phone: (703) 684-5700

Cruise Ports Encouraged to Prevent Spread of COVID-19

The American Association of Port Authorities encourages Western Hemisphere cruise ports to take necessary precautions to help prevent the spread of novel coronavirus

Coronavirus image

The novel coronavirus (COVID-19) is present throughout the Western Hemisphere, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) recently issued guidance regarding cruise travel. AAPA encourages cruise ports throughout the Western Hemisphere to play a leadership role in preventing the spread of COVID-19.  

In addition to the response from the U.S. CDC, many regional health agencies throughout the hemisphere are playing key roles in the COVID-19 epidemic. Additionally, the U.S. Coast Guard and local municipalities and law enforcement agencies have been important partners of ports. Respecting the significant expertise that public health officials and others bring to the disease response, we strongly recommend that ports support screening and quarantine protocols recommended or mandated by these agencies.  

The resources required to successfully implement screening and quarantine protocols will likely vary from port to port, and we encourage ports to be meaningful partners with public health agencies in implementing these protocols.   

Since information about COVID-19 remains very fluid, cruise ports and their partners are encouraged to plan for all scenarios and take necessary precautions to help contain this new virus.  

AAPA recommends that ports help limit and control the outbreak of coronavirus through the following practices: 

  1. One of the most basic but important functions that ports can provide during this outbreak is following a clearly articulated, methodical procedure for regularly sanitizing cruise facilities. Sanitation efforts should occur continuously on days of cruise sailings. This includes deep cleaning of cruise terminals and close coordination with cruise line partners and port agents. 

  2. A sanitation protocol should include disinfecting high-touch, hard surfaces such as railings, doorknobs, countertops, outlets/charging stations and arm rests.  

  3. Ports should ensure that tissue dispensers (if present) and soap dispensers in restrooms are checked several times each day when cruise terminals are in use. Additionally, ample hand sanitizer should be made available to passengers throughout terminals. 

  4. Video monitors (where available) and/or signage should be displayed to remind passengers and cruise terminal staff to wash their hands frequently, as the CDC continues to emphasize that hand washing is the most effective way to contain the spread of the virus.  

  5. Ports and their partners should make cruise facility staff aware of the symptoms of COVID-19 (fever, cough, shortness of breath) and ensure that employees are aware of the appropriate protocols for notifying supervisors and/or public health officials regarding potentially ill travelers.  

AAPA and its member port authorities take the COVID-19 outbreak seriously and are monitoring it closely. We believe that it is critically important to ensure that transmission of this disease is limited and that those who have been infected are well treated and receive quality care. We take these actions to protect the most vulnerable among us, and we mourn for those whose lives have been tragically cut short by this pathogen crisis. 

About AAPA
Founded in 1912 and recognized as the unified voice of seaports in the Americas, AAPA today represents 130 of the leading seaport authorities in the United States, Canada, Latin America and the Caribbean and more than 200 sustaining and associate members, firms and individuals with an interest in seaports.
According to 
IHS Markit’s GTA Forecasting (previously known as World Trade Service), combined international sea trade moving through Western Hemisphere seaports in 2018 totaled nearly 4.2 billion metric tons in volume and US$3.7 trillion in value. Of that combined total, seaports in Central and South America handled 1.86 billion metric tons of cargo valued at US$1.17 trillion, while North American seaports handled 2.34 billion metric tons of goods, valued at US$2.53 trillion.  Within North America, U.S. seaports handled 1.01 billion metric tons of international trade valued at US$1.95 trillion, while Canada’s seaports handled 380.53 million metric tons of goods valued at US$266.67 billion, and Mexico’s seaports handled 352.53 million metric tons of cargo valued at US$312.91 billion.
To meet the growing demand for trade, the AAPA and its members are committed to keeping seaports navigable, secure and sustainable.  For more information, visit On Twitter:

# # #