In a statement, Holland America Line said 13 guests and 29 crew reported to the ship's medical centre with influenza-like symptoms, and that out of an abundance of caution passengers have been asked to remain in their rooms.
"Zaandam was sailing a South America voyage that departed Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21", wrote the cruise line.
Its plight is the latest affecting the global cruise industry, which has seen vessels refused entry to ports and others locked down after new-coronavirus cases were confirmed onboard during the pandemic. It is expected to dock March 30.
There are 586 crew members on board. Despite previous confirmations that passengers could disembark in Punta Arenas, Chile, for flights, the cruise line was blocked from doing so. The ship left Chile on March 21, and is trying to secure transit through the Panama Canal to be able to arrive in Fort Lauderdale on March 30, the company said in a statement.
The Zaandam, seen here during an earlier voyage, is now sailing toward Fort Lauderdale, Fla., with at least 42 guests and crew members experiencing influenza-like symptoms.
"We heard that one ship that managed to dock at Punta Arenas was greeted by locals throwing rocks!"
Port Everglades, the Florida Department of Health, and the CDC did not immediately respond to a request for comment about how the ship's arrival would be handled.
While the plan is to have passengers disembark from both the Maasdam and Eclipse, port officials say they have set up strict protocols, including requiring the lines to inform them and other governmental agencies if any passengers or crew members display symptoms of any illness, including COVID-19.
"Since it is flu season, and COVID-19 testing is not available on board, it is hard to determine the cause of these elevated cases at this time", Holland America said.
"Even though we weren't allowed to dock and get off the boat the last couple of stops, people were generally feeling that it was fine". Princess Cruises Cruises has now made a decision to have the Coral Princess sail directly to Fort Lauderdale, Florida which will take approximately 14 days.
There are 30 cruise ships packed with holiday-seeking passengers still slicing through the world's oceans despite their reputations for being ideal incubators for COVID-19. Zaandam departed Valparaiso on March 21 and is now sailing north to Fort Lauderdale, Fla., for arrival on March 30, pending a reservation to transit the Panama Canal.
That all changed when the cruise line chose to suspend global cruise operations for one month and end all cruises in progress as "quickly as possible".
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