Covid 19: Zaandam and Rotterdam In Port Everglades – Other Cruise News: Covid 19: Fourth Strike For Princess Cruises – New Covid-19 Rules For US-Arriving Cruise Ships
by Kevin Griffin
Last week, Holland America’s Zaandam and Rotterdam arrived at Port Everglades. Last week we looked at a third Princess ship affected by corona-virus as Ruby Princess arrived and was laid up at Sydney. This week it is the turn of the Coral Princess arriving at Miami from South America. Meanwhile US authorities have issued new regulations concerning domestic fights in the US.
THIS WEEK’S STORY
Covid 19 – Zaandam and Rotterdam In Port Everglades
Passengers from the disease-struck 1,432-berth cruise ship Zaandam were carefully landed on Friday for the first time in weeks, following the removal of fourteen critically ill people who were wheeled off to Florida hospitals bracing for an influx of coronavirus patients.
From the Zaandam and its fleet-mate the 1,404-berth Rotterdam, Floridians were allowed to disembark first, followed by other passengers. Coaches took passengers showing no symptoms after being screened and cleared by third-party paramedics directly to the airport, escorted by motorcycles.
Ten patients were taken to a local Broward Health hospital, while three others were taken to another local hospital.
Before disembarking, passengers received instructions to wear face masks at all times when travelling and immediately to start a 14-day self-quarantine when they arrived home.
Four coaches took the first small groups to Port Everglades airport on Friday morning, where they boarded two planes waiting on the tarmac. Paramedics and airline workers were fully masked in protective gear. The first plane left for Toronto, port officials said.
Carnival Corp said the next ship to arrive would be its last carrying passengers to a US port since the pandemic was declared. The Coral Princess arrived at Miami on Saturday with more than 1,000 passengers who have been self-isolating in their cabins, including twelve confirmed cases of Covid 19.
The US Coast Guard has directed that hundreds of crew members should remain on the dozens of cruise ships that are either docked or waiting off Florida’s shores, and that cruise lines should be prepared to treat all but the most serious cases on board to avoid adding more stress to Florida’s healthcare system.
Crew members are already getting sicker. One has died on the 2,170-berth Celebrity Infinity and two others were medically evacuated from the 5,408-berth Oasis of the Seas, according to an email from parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd in Miami. The Infinity is waiting off Florida’s west coast, and the Oasis of the Seas is positioned off Broward County.
Holland America initially said twenty-six passengers and fifty crew members were ill. Two of the four dead had Covid 19, according to Carnival Corp, the owner of the ships.
There were 442 guests and 603 crew on the Zaandam, and 808 guests and 583 crew on the Rotterdam. The Rotterdam was sent last week to take on some of the passengers and provide assistance to the Zaandam after it was denied permission to dock at ports in South America.
About 250 people have reported influenza-like symptoms since 22 March, including seventeen on board the Rotterdam, according to details made public.
Originally opposed to the ship’s arrival, Florida Governor Ron DeSantis said on Wednesday that he had a change of heart after realizing many passengers were US citizens and about fifty were from Florida.
Fourth Strike For Princess Cruises
To three Princess Cruises ships, the 2.700-berth Diamond Princess, 2,600-berth Grand Princess and 3,114-berth Ruby Princess, we now must add a fourth fleet-mate stuck with an outbreak of the coronavirus Covid 19, the 1,974-berth Ruby Princess. Princess Cruises has been particularly hard hit.
More than 700 people aboard the Diamond Princess tested positive in Japan, and six of them died. At least two passengers and 19 crew members aboard the Grand Princess in Oakland also tested positive, and an American passenger on this ship had also died of the virus after disembarking from a previous cruise.
Then on March 19, the Ruby Princess docked in Sydney after an 11-night cruise to New Zealand and despite the ship logging 158 cases of illness on an earlier cruise, all 2,700 passengers were allowed by local authorities to disembark at Sydney’s Circular Quay and return to their homes in New South Wales and elsewhere.
So far, 133 people have been diagnosed with the disease after leaving the ship, and one person, a woman in her 70s, has died.
And last weekend three crew members with serious respiratory ailments were taken ashore to a hospital in Sydney.
According to the ship’s logs, 158 passengers were sick on an earlier cruise, with thirteen registering high temperatures. A Northern Territory couple flew to Darwin and later tested positive for coronavirus.
One passenger was unwell and taken directly from the ship to hospital, two presented to Sydney hospitals for testing after disembarking, and one was a crew member who was placed into isolation on the ship.
All four would later test positive for coronavirus, but the results of these tests were not disclosed until later. The woman who was taken directly to hospital died.
All passengers were told they would need to self-isolate at home or in a hotel for 14 days. By now, the number of confirmed cases from the ship has risen to more than 600, and ten have died.
Meanwhile, the Coral Princess finally docked in Miami over the weekend after spending nearly a month at sea, with two passengers having died of Covid 19 and another died on the way to the hospital.
The ship arrived in Miami on Saturday with 1,898 people on board, including 1,020 passengers and 878 crew members. On Thursday, the cruise line announced that it had confirmed at least twelve positive cases — seven guests and five crew members.
The third passenger from the Coral Princess died after being transported by a private ambulance to a hospital in Hialeah, Florida, late Saturday night.
New Covid-19 Rules For US-Arriving Cruise Ships
The Department of Homeland Security and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have issued new instructions that keep cruise ship passengers and crew arriving in the US from boarding domestic commercial flights.
The restrictions apply even to people not showing symptoms and also require 14-day quarantines for cruise passengers and crew. Instead, cruise passengers and crew will have to fly on charter aircraft or use private transportation.
(Kevin Griffin is managing director of The Cruise People Ltd in London, England. For further information concerning cruises mentioned in this article readers can visit his blog)