Princess Cruises temporarily halts sailings for 60 days as coronavirus spreads

Virus fears keep cruise ships stranded around the world

At least seven cruise ships were either anchored at sea or being denied port around the world Monday, and some of the vessels docked but kept passengers quarantined due to several confirmed cases of coronavirus, according to reports by CNN

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Some of the ships were being held at bay simply because ports were shuttered or wouldn’t allow entry despite there being no cases reported.

The ships include the MS Braemar, a Fred Olsen Cruise Liner heading toward Cuba; the Silver Shadow, a Royal Caribbean vessel docked in Brazil with passengers in isolation; and another Royal Caribbean liner, the Silver Explorer, docked in Chile with one passenger who tested positive, CNN reported. 

»UPDATE: 4 major cruise lines suspend trips from US for 30 days

Reportedly five people aboard the Braemar have tested positive for the virus. The ship has been searching for a place to dock for several days after being refused port of entry throughout the Caribbean, according to CNN, citing the ship’s owner. The vessel was anchored 25 miles off the coast of the Bahamas before heading to Cuba on Monday with 20 passengers and 20 crew in isolation after displaying influenza-like symptoms, CNN reported. 

Reports say the British government reached out to authorities in Cuba to allow the Braemar to dock at the port of Mariel, according to CNN, citing sources in London.

It’s not yet clear when the ship will arrive. Fred Olsen Cruise Lines said it would suspend “all ocean cruise operations until 23rd May” after all of its ships return home, according to CNN. 

»PREVIOUS COVERAGE: 2 major cruise lines to suspend operations due to outbreak

Aboard the Silver Shadow, 609 passengers have been quarantined since Thursday after one passenger exhibited symptoms and another passenger, a 78-year-old Canadian man, was hospitalized after reportedly testing positive Saturday. 

“Two guests aboard the Silver Shadow have been medically disembarked in Recife, Brazil, and one has tested positive for COVID-19,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement, according to CNN. 

The Silver Explorer is docked in Castro, Chile, with 111 passengers and 120 crew. One of the passengers — an 83-year-old British man — tested positive, but is said to be in “good condition” and being treated at the Coyhaique Hospital, according to CNN.  

Elsewhere, the Golden Princess, a Princess Cruises ship that departed Melbourne on March 10 for a 13-day voyage, was anchored in Akaroa Harbor off New Zealand with at least three passengers who were thought to have contact with a passenger on an international flight from Los Angeles who later tested positive but never boarded the ship, CNN reported, citing local health officials. 

“We have also apologized to guests that this means that the remainder of their New Zealand itinerary has been canceled,” the cruise liner said in a statement to CNN.  

Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jewel is reportedly stranded in the South Pacific Ocean and searching for a port after being denied entry at two previous stations. 

CNN reported it was unaware of any reported cases aboard the ship. 

Last week, Norwegian announced it would suspend cruise services from March 13  to April 11. 

“Voyages that are underway will conclude and guests will be disembarked as soon as possible and assisted with travel arrangements,” said the cruise line in a statement. 

Another ship, the Pacific Princess, found most ports closed as it traveled toward Fremantle, Australia, via the Indian Ocean and then was denied port in Seychelles and Sri Lanka despite not having any sick passengers aboard. 

“We were allowed to dock at a commercial port for fuel, food, and water but no one could get on or off. Their workers and ours wore masks and stayed apart,” said passenger CJ Hayden, according to CNN. 

The ship was due to arrive in Fremantle on March 21, but docking remains uncertain as Australia has closed many of its own ports. 

Late last week, Princess Cruises announced “a voluntary and temporary pause of global operations” for 60 days. 

“Current voyages that are underway and extend beyond March 17 will be ended at the most convenient location for guests,” the company said in a statement. 

Meanwhile, officials are working to unload two ships anchored off the coast of Chile. The vessels, the Celebrity Eclipse and the Azamara Pursuit, are awaiting a government plan to ensure travelers have a way to leave the country after disembarking, CNN reported.

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