Ships still at sea are on cruises to nowhere coronavirus

It’s been five days since CLIA member lines declared a
suspension of cruise operations due to the Covid-19 crisis, but several cruise ships are
still at sea with passengers, and some are having trouble finding ports to disembark.

CLIA said that as of March 17, about 20% of ships were
completing final itineraries.

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jewel, currently on a
23-day Australia and French Polynesia itinerary, was supposed to disembark in
Auckland, New Zealand, on March 20. Due to multiple port closures in the area,
the ship is now scheduled to disembark in Honolulu on March 22.

Holland America Line’s Maasdam this week had to forego plans
to dock at Hawaii Island because it has closed to cruise ship calls. The
Maasdam does not have any known or suspected cases of coronavirus, and now
plans to disembark in Honolulu on March 20.

Holland America said the Zaandam had not been allowed to
disembark in Punta Arenas, Chile, on March 16, so it left the port and headed
for San Antonio, Chile, to pick up fuel and other supplies. The ship is not in
quarantine and has no known or suspected cases of Covid-19, the company said.
The ship had been on a 14-day sailing in South America scheduled to end March
21. Holland America said it does not currently know where it will

The Amsterdam, currently sailing an around-the-world cruise
that started on Jan. 4, was originally scheduled to end the sailing in Fort
Lauderdale on May 12. It will now disembark in Fremantle, Australia, on March

The fate of two Silversea ships is up in the air after
passengers on both tested positive for Covid-19 on March 14.

Two guests on the Silver Shadow departed the ship for
medical reasons in Recife, Brazil, one that subsequently tested positive for
the virus; the other was negative, the company said in a statement.

Several guests onboard the Silver Explorer left the ship for
medical reasons in Tortel and Castro, Chile, and later tested positive for Covid-19.
Parent company Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. declined to say how many passengers
had tested positive.

“We are in continuous contact with the various government
authorities relating to transport. This work continues,” the company said in a

The cruise line said it has asked guests on both ships “to
temporarily remain in their cabins in accordance with our medical isolation

“On behalf of our guests, we are in close coordination with
the governments and local health authorities to determine next best steps,” the
company said.

ASTA CEO Zane Kerby criticized ports for turning away cruise

“Over the course of the past few weeks, a disturbing and
anti-humanitarian trend has emerged,” he said in a written statement. “Multiple
cruise ships at sea have been denied entry to various ports around the world
for fear that some aboard might have or spread the Covid-19 virus.” 

“While local governments have a responsibility to keep their
citizens safe, human decency and common-sense solutions should take precedence
during these times of crisis,” he said.

The British ship Braemar, operated by Fred.Olsen Cruise
Lines, has also had a harrowing journey over the last several days.

On March 10, one guest and four crew members tested positive
for the virus. Later, one more guest who had originally gotten an inconclusive
result was confirmed to be positive. As a result, the Braemar did not get clearance
to disembark gusts in Barbados on March 12.

The ship spent three days in the Bahamas with 682 guests
before Cuban authorities granted it permission to disembark in Havana and fly
back to the United Kingdom.

The Braemar docked in Havana on Wednesday. Three flights
were chartered from British Airways to fly guests to London Heathrow in the

Those who have coronavirus or have displayed flu-like
symptoms along with their companions will return on a separate flight arriving at
MoD Boscombe, an air force base in Wiltshire, England. Any guests not
considered well enough to fly will receive medical treatment in Cuba. 

Fred.Olsen managing director Peter Deer thanked the Cuban
government for allowing the ship to dock.

“Other countries would not allow Braemar to dock once we had
confirmed cases of coronavirus onboard,” he said.

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