Most of the world’s cruise ships are idle because of the
Covid-19 pandemic, but 10 vessels carrying about 8,000 passengers were still at
sea on Wednesday.
Some of the ships were on world cruises that started at the
beginning of January. Some have ill passengers aboard. The challenge is to get passengers home when many ports are closed.
“This has been a complex process with teams of people
working day and night to coordinate a safe and orderly return to port for
passengers and crew and cruise lines working under the direction of governments
and health authorities at every step,” said Anne Madison, a spokesperson for cruise
trade group CLIA.
Holland America Line’s Zaandam has gotten the most media attention
because of its arduous journey and because four passengers have died on the
The Zaandam departed on March 7 from Argentina and is now
cruising toward Florida, awaiting permission to disembark. The ship is
accompanied by the Rotterdam, which met up with the Zaandam off the coast of
Panama to deliver supplies.
The Zaandam’s voyage had been scheduled to end on March 21
in Chile, but it was turned away by South American ports. Holland America said 97 guests and 136 crew have presented
with influenza-like symptoms since March 22. A few have tested positive for
Guests have not left the ship since March 14 and have been confined to their staterooms since March 22.
Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess and Pacific Princess are
still sailing. Coral Princess has 1,023 guests onboard and Pacific Princess has
115, Princess Cruises said.
As of Tuesday, the medical center onboard Coral Princess was
reporting a higher-than-normal number of people with influenza-like symptoms.
Many have tested positive for regular influenza but to be cautious, all guests are
quarantined in their staterooms. All meals are being delivered by room service.
Crew members are remaining in their staterooms when they are not working.
The Coral Princess went to Bridgetown, Barbados, for a
service call on Tuesday but guests and crew were not permitted to go ashore.
The ship is scheduled to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on April 4.
The Pacific Princess made a service call to Melbourne,
Australia, to refuel and pick up provisions. No guests or crew were allowed to
disembark. The 115 guests on board did not meet IATA’s fitness standards for
air travel or were not able to fly because of medical conditions not related to
coronavirus, Princess said. The ship is now sailing back to Los Angeles, which
is approximately a 21-day journey.
The MSC Magnifica made a call at Fremantle, Australia,
earlier this week and has now resumed its journey back to Europe. Prior to the coronavirus
outbreak, the ship had called at Hobart, Sydney and Melbourne.
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 is on its way to Southampton, England.
Most guests disembarked the ship in Fremantle, Australia, on March 14 and 15.
The ship made a technical stop in Durban, South Africa, on March 31. The Queen
Mary 2 will soon be sailing again and has 264 guests aboard, a Cunard spokeswoman
P&O Cruises has one ship still at sea -- the Arcadia
with 1,404 guests onboard. The Arcadia is returning to England and is expected to
arrive on schedule on April 12.
“Social distancing measures are being rigorously enforced on
board,” said Michele Andjel, vice president of public relations for P&O
Cruises and Carnival U.K.
Other ships trying to make port, according to
CruiseMapper.com, are the Costa Deliziosa, the Astor (owned by Germany-based
Premicon) Cruise & Maritime Voyages’ Columbus and the expedition ship Greg