Holland America ship has long trip ahead coronavirus

Holland America Line said that the Zaandam, currently
sailing off the west coast of South America, will rendezvous with the Rotterdam ship
in two days to get extra supplies, additional staff and Covid-19 test kits.

The Zaandam needs the provisions because ill people are
aboard with flu-like symptoms and no ports in South America will allow the ship
to disembark. 

Holland America said no ports are open to the ship between
Chile and Fort Lauderdale. The Florida city’s Port Everglades is now tentatively
the Zaandam’s final destination. A March 30 arrival is anticipated, but plans
are still being finalized and “alternative options” are being explored. Holland
America is trying to get permission to transit the Panama Canal.

No passengers have disembarked the Zaandam since March 14 in
Punta Arenas, Chile. The ship had been sailing a South America voyage that
departed Buenos Aires on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end in San
Antonio, Chile, on March 21. 

Holland America said that 13 passengers and 29 crew on the
Zaandam have reported to the ship’s medical center with influenza-like symptoms.
There are 1,243 passengers and 586 crew onboard, and all passengers have been
instructed to stay in their cabins.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we have now asked all
guests to remain in their staterooms until we have more information,” the
cruise line said. Holland America added that because Covid-19 testing is not
available onboard, “it is difficult to determine the cause of these elevated
cases at this time.”

Starting March 24, the ship is providing meal service by
room service until further notice and all public areas are closed. 

The Rotterdam has 611 crew and no passengers onboard. It
departed Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, at 3 p.m. local time on March 22. Holland
America expects the two ships to meet on March 26 off the coast of Panama.

Port Everglades officials said on Tuesday that they are
monitoring the ship’s progress and that Broward County will determine whether
to allow the ship to enter the port “as more information is available.” The
port said it is consulting with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and
Prevention, the Florida Department of Health in Broward County and other

Chilean ports Punta Arenas and Valparaiso, as well as ports
in Peru, did not allow the ship to disembark. The ship was able to refuel in
Valparaiso and take on provisions before sailing north. 

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