Holland America Line Cancels Asia Westerdam Sailings

Holland America Line announced Thursday it had canceled four Asia sailings for the MS Westerdam between March and May due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak.

The canceled cruises include a 14-day South Korea and Japan sailing (March 14–28), a 14-day Japan Explorer itinerary (March 28–April 11), a 14-day Japan and Russia cruise (April 11–25) and a 16-day North Pacific Crossing (April 25–May 10).

Officials from Holland America said details and possible itinerary changes for Westerdam’s deployment through early May would be provided in the coming days. All guests impacted by the cancellations will receive a full refund of the cruise fare paid.

In addition, each passenger scheduled to sail on one of the canceled voyages will receive a future cruise credit of 25-50 percent of the fare paid depending on the departure date and reimbursement of any travel cancellation fees.

A spokesperson for Holland America said the cruise line continues to monitor the situation in Asia regarding the viral outbreak, but has decided to cancel the sailings due to the company not being confident it could “deliver a cruise experience that meets their expectations.”

As for the passengers who were quarantined on Westerdam, they were recently allowed to disembark, but the flight home didn’t go as planned. According to ABCNews.com, the charter flight evacuating 268 travelers was forced to land in Pakistan after being turned away from its scheduled landing in Turkey.

The Turkish government reportedly barred the aircraft from landing in the country due to concerns about potential coronavirus infections, despite the Cambodian Ministry of Health and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention clearing the passengers.

An 83-year old American woman who sailed on the Westerdam was confirmed to have the virus, sparking concerns that others on board the ship may have encountered the coronavirus. All 781 Westerdam passengers remaining in Cambodia had tested negative for the infection and have been permitted to leave.

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