New Caledonia has become the first destination to potentially ban travellers who cannot prove they have adequate medical and repatriation cover
“I guess they are tired of having to keep clients who do not have evacuation cover in hospital in Noumea,” commented Julie Richards, advisor and Cruise Master at Freighter Expeditions, a Sydney-based cruise specialist.
Noumea, capital of the French Pacific island territory, has become an important port of call for cruise ships since New Caledonia set itself a target of 1.2 million cruise passenger visits by 2015. Major cruise operators, including Carnival Cruise Lines, P&O Australia and Royal Caribbean, make almost 500 calls annually.
On its website, Carnival Cruise cautions its guests that New Caledonia reserves the right to refuse entry to any guest not holding appropriate travel insurance.
“In the event you do not have international travel insurance, you will be asked to accept financial responsibility in writing, should you incur any unexpected medical expenses in Noumea,” the cruise line warns.
New Caledonia also attracts around 116,000 package holidaymakers a year, mainly from Australia and France.