7 News Belize reports that after Belize’s Ministry of Immigration announced new stringent measures for Ebola screening at the Belize Harbor, Carnival and Royal Caribbean "threatened to pull scheduled cruises fast and furious."

In an article entitled Cruise Ships Balk At New Ebola Screening, Threaten Mass Cancellations, the leading news station in Belize said that the new stringent Ebola protocols caused delays due to the tight schedules and the large number of cruise passengers who come ashore.

There is mention in the article of Belize customs representatives taking and inspecting the passengers’ passports during the screening. Belize’s government has already stopped issuing visas for nationals from Nigeria, Guinea, Sierra Leone and Liberia, according to Bloomberg Businessweek. Travelers who have visited any of these four countries in the past 30 days will be prohibited from entering Belize. This will require an inspection of passports, not just birth certificates many people use to cruise.  

The cruise industry protocol so far relies upon passengers to voluntarily disclose this information on questionnaires, rather than the cruise lines inspecting the passengers’ passports before the cruise to verify that they have not traveled to these countries in West Africa. Unlike Belize, the U.S. has not banned travelers from the infected African countries.

7 News Belize reports that Royal Caribbean threatened to cancel earlier this week; however, the Ebola Carnival Magicscreening process was streamlined and the Navigator of the Seas called on port  as scheduled. 

The Minister of Tourism in Belize told the news station that " . . . as a government we have to be extremely cautious. The tourism industry is a very sensitive industry and it’s the bread and butter of many destinations." 

Last week, Belize barred the quarantined Carnival Magic passenger from coming ashore after it was disclosed that she handled the blood samples of the deceased Ebola victim who was treated at the Texas hospital in Dallas. 

According to the news station, around 1,000,000 tourists will arrive in Belize via cruise ship this year.


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Photo Credit: Wikipedia / Longbowe Creative Commons 3.0

  • Chris Harris

    Belize has a perfect right to protect its citizens from any disease brought in by tourists, just as any other country worldwide does, including the USA.
    Cruise Ship tourism is not welcomed by many in Belize, especially in the south of the country.
    The damage already done to our fragile ecosystem is terrible. just look at what is happening on Harvest Caye right now, even before the Environmental Impact Assessement has been approved. Any cruise passenger who visits Harvest Caye should ask themselves where will the manatee breed now that NCL has wilfully destroyed one of the main breeding grounds.

  • Richard Gentry

    Well done Belize. I know the cruise ship business means a lot to the country. We have to keep in mind, however, that it isn’t the only type of tourist attraction in Belize. It would be devastating to the tourism industry as well as the health of our residents, if we got a case of ebola. Our medical system, as good as it is, isn’t capable of dealing with it. It is clear to me that if we had a case of ebola the cruise ships would stop coming here in a flash. We are doing the right thing by taking every precaution to see that this disease never reaches here.

  • Jeff Betts

    I believe that the government is doing taking appropriate and the correct actions. Countries of the world should follow this policy. Thank the Minister of Tourism for helping keep Belize safe.

  • Keera Somerville

    I support 110% what this government did! They can proudly stand and say they truly love the Belizean people!

  • Sharon

    Well done Belize. I think that what you did is great by looking out for your people. If we the United States would not let people fly in from Africa then we would not have any concern in the United States. I am really shock that Royal Caribbean threaten to pull its fleet from coming to Belize. I have cruise with them 14 times, but if RC is worried more about making money then the saftety of there guest, I might have to think about if I want to cruise with them again. I dont wish this Ebola on any one not even the people of Africa but people are scared!!

  • Tanya Musso

    As a Belizean I am happy that our Government has taken these steps and Carnival and Royal Caribbean need to respect that…even if their customers bitch and moan. We are a small country with a very small population of approximately 350,000 ppl. And we dont have the resources to handle an ebola outbreak.

  • Suzy Oltmann

    Chris Harris… my sentiments exactly! Southern Belize realistically cannot handle an influx of cruise passengers & tourists. Meanwhile, these ships do irreparable damage to the largest (and oh so healthy & beautiful) coral reef in the western hemisphere.

    Besides that, look at how many thousands have died in Africa. Lack of funding and resources to control this terrible epidemic. Such a huge loss of life, it’s unfathomable. Belize is small and also without medical resources to deal with a crisis of this magnitude.

    I’m happy the Belize Gov’t has taken these measures to ensure the health of our people. I wish the same measures had been taken into account when they decided to allow these cruise lines in to destroy this beautiful & natural eco-system.

    In Southern Belize, our concerns were ignored in favour of tourism. I think Mother Nature stepped up and voiced her opinion on our behalf.

  • Pamela Gideon

    I can’t even understand why The Carnival corperation feel that they can dictate the health protocol of any country or why Belize is looking to accommodate them. What I’m waiting for is to hear how much Belize will fine Carnival for their reckless actions last week of releasing over 2000 passengers on our shores who may have come in contact with the Rbola virus. Luckily for us, the lady was negative for the disease but the moral of the story is, Carnival put their bottom line ( $$$$) before the safety of an entire country. If that does not tell we need to tighten the reins and put them on notice after seeing how something like the Norwalk virus spread so quickly well, I guess Belizeans are busy drinking tea and thinking …’ That’s none of my business’

  • Vic Murphy

    Hey Carnival &Royal Caribbean, if the reports are true that you are threatening to pull out of Belize because of the action of the. Belize Government over the Ebola scare, then you have shot yourself in the foot. You should be applauding the Government of Belize for taking decisive action in trying to stem the possible spread of this horrible virus. What is more, if you were in possession of the facts before allowing other passengers to land in Belize then you have been wholly irresponsible. It matters not that the passenger (thank. God) did not have Ebola or any symptoms. You saw it fit to agree to quarantine her ‘just in case’. Did you not see fit to take similar precautions in respect of the People of Belize?
    I find your actions abhorrent bordering on criminal. Get your house in order.

  • Andy Smithers

    If safety is a real thing and not a catch phrase, RCCL & CCL should welcome the expressed concerns about safety of the traveling public. Better to err on the side of caution in this case. Who are the cruise lines to attack a sovereign nation’s rational for maintaining health conditions in Belize. RCCL & CCL only care about money and it’s free flow into their tax free coffers.

  • Katie M

    I think its ridiculous that they found the need to quarantine somebody for no other reason than because they handled the blood samples. Am I the only one who finds that ridiculous and an over reaction?

  • Wayne Greaves

    Ok Mr. Prime Minister, this is your “game of chicken” moment. Show the world, again, what you are made of!!

  • Lynda Perdue

    Go Belize! Finally someone had the courage to say NO! Stand firm Belize dont allow these floatingnsespools to invade your countey and spread germs all over! Tell the cruise line to go to hell!

  • Sharon Lord

    Belize’s strong stance and message is one of MANY reasons we can’t wait to retire there in 9 looooooong years! It made me proud to hear the MofT refused entry to the potentially infected passenger, putting the safety of Belizeans AHEAD of the almighty dollar! As “advanced” as the US is, we obviously aren’t prepared for this infection, imagine it unleashed in Belize….. And shame on the cruise lines for threatening to pull their germy cesspools because Belize wants to protect her citizens!!!! One more reason to NOT support Carnival and Royal Caribbean! Those hacks can’t even prevent Norovirus from running rampant on their own ships, why should we trust them on Ebola?!?!

  • JuJu

    I applaud Belize government for caring about its citizens, unlike the US government. For about nine months I have been considering moving to Belize from Georgia where my family has lived for eight generations. My concern for the government corruption of America has turned to intense hatred. I feel as if I am fleeing America just as people fled the Nazis in Europe and my forefathers fled religious persecution in England in the 1600s. Hope to be moved to Belize by February. So sad to be leaving the country I once loved, but am so excited about your beautiful country – almost paradise!

  • Andrew C.

    I was on the Navigator of the Seas cruise mentioned here. We were told about this change a couple of days before getting to Belize. Instructions were clearly given on how to get passports, etc. to the appropriate cruise officers. The captain made sure the ship got to port a little earlier, and we all got off on the appointed time. It really wasn’t an issue, maybe occupied 15 minutes of the cruise passenger’s time. Considering the size of Belize and their likely resources to below with an Ebola outbreak, I’d say it was a good call by the country.