Since March 13, all cruise operations from U.S. ports have been suspended in a decision made responding to the rapid spread of the COVID-19 virus. However, this left nearly 20 ships stranded at sea struggling to find a safe port.
In a statement to CNN, Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) confirmed that about 5.4 percent of its fleet was still at sea.
Several of the stranded ships are currently carrying passengers. Zaandam of Holland America Line was denied by several ports after confirming that 73 guests and 116 crew members were experiencing influenza-like symptoms.
Healthy guests were transferred to the Rotterdam, and both ships are currently making their way to Fort Lauderdale, Florida where they are expected to dock on March 30. Holland America Line has confirmed four deaths aboard Zaandam.
A majority of the ships are experiencing less panicked voyages than Zaandam, however, as many of them have had no reported cases of coronavirus.
These include Arcadia of P&O Cruises UK, Coral Princess and Pacific Princess of Princess Cruises, Queen Victoria and Queen Mary 2 of Cunard, MSC Magnifica of MSC Cruises, Celebrity Eclipse of Celebrity Cruises and Columbus and Vasco de Gama of Cruise & Maritime Voyages.
The ships are all currently en route to different ports that have permitted them to dock.
Some ships that are still at sea were at least able to evacuate their passengers before setting sail once again. These include Costa Magica and Costa Favolosa of Costa Cruises, Azura of P&O Cruise UK and Hanseatic Nature and Europa of Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.
Several crew members aboard Costa Magica and Costa Favolosa have tested positive for coronavirus.
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