New protocols instituted by the Trump Administration and the Centers for Disease Control restrict cruise ship passengers from flying commercial airlines. Passengers or crew getting off cruise ships looking for a way home can still fly, but they need their cruise line to charter a plane or shell out of pocket for a private plane service. The protocol also adds a 14-day quarantine even for those without symptoms.
The new protocol goes into place as cruise ships with confirmed COVID 19 cases on board docked in Fort Lauderdale over the weekend. Many state and federal agencies debated whether to let the ships dock in the first place and what the process would be for getting everyone off safely. Eventually, the ships were given the go-ahead to begin disembarking.
Stranded Cruise Ships and Passengers
The new protocols came after a week of debate about what to do with two Holland America Line ships that had been denied entry at a handful of ports all over the world due to illness on board. The ships were finally allowed to dock at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale last Friday, but the process getting to that point was a long and stressful one.
Once those ships docked, hundreds of passengers disembarked which sparked concerns about those people potentially spreading COVID 19 on the trip home. The CDC had been allowing cruise passengers without symptoms to board domestic flights so long as they passed screenings at the airport.
Coral Princess First Affected
Coral Princess was allowed to dock at PortMiami over the weekend and the passengers on board are the first affected by the new protocols. Those with symptoms of Coronavirus will remain on board and those deemed healthy will begin the process of getting home. Princess Cruises stated getting over 1,000 healthy people safely off the ship will take a few days and the cruise line had chartered flights for their passengers waiting at nearby airports.
Over 100 ships are here in US ports or nearby in US-controlled waters with close to 100,000 crew still onboard. Do you agree with the new protocol restricting air travel for cruisers? Let us know in the comments below.