Holland America Line is awaiting confirmation to disembark nearly 1,200 well, fit-for-travel guests home from Zaandam and Rotterdam in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. Both ships are arriving at the boundary of U.S. waters this morning and will remain outside U.S. waters while awaiting clearance to enter.
Those who can travel per the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's (CDC) guidelines would leave the ship for flights home; the majority will board charter flights. These guests will travel in sanitized coaches with minimal person-to-person contact while wearing masks. Holland America Line says these provisions well exceed what the CDC have advised is necessary for their travel. Guests have not set foot off the ship since March 14 and have self-quarantined in their staterooms since March 22.
The approximately 45 guests who are mildly sick and unfit to travel at this time will continue to isolate on board until recovered. Disembarkation would be at a later date to be determined and only after they have recovered.
Holland America has secured approval from a local health system partner that they treat those in critical condition. An estimated less than 10 people will need this medical support in Broward County, which Holland America says is necessary to prevent further harm to their health.
Since March 22, 97 guests (83 on Zaandam and 14 on Rotterdam) and 136 crew on Zaandam (zero on Rotterdam) have showed influenza-like symptoms. As of March 31, only one new case was found.
Note: There are 808 guests and 583 crew on Rotterdam. On Zaandam, there are 442 guests and 603 crew. Four children under the age of 12 are on board.
Originally, Zaandam was on a South America voyage that began in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7. It was scheduled to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21. Holland America says attempts were made and denied to disembark guests in Chile on March 15 and in other ports along its route to the U.S. On March 21, Zaandam was slated to begin a 20-day South America and Panama Canal cruise from San Antonio, Chile, and end in Fort Lauderdale on April 7.
Because of the coronavirus pandemic, Holland America Line decided to suspend its global cruise operations, cancelling sailings scheduled to depart through May 14, 2020 and ending its current cruises in progress.
This article originally appeared on www.travelagentcentral.com.