Coronavirus: MSC cruise ship rejected from two Caribbean ports as crew member falls ill

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CRUISES have been hard hit by the outbreak of Coronavirus and yesterday MSC Meraviglia was rejected from two Caribbean ports amid fears that a crew member on board the MSC Cruises ship was sick.
Cruise ship MSC Meraviglia was turned away from two ports in the Caribbean on Tuesday. The rejection came amid fears of the spread of coronavirus. The MSC Meraviglia was denied permission to dock in Ocho Rios, Jamaica and Georgetown, Cayman Islands in the Caribbean.

Authorities were concerned the sickness was a result of coronavirus.

However, the cruise line claims his illness is down to common seasonal flu and insist no cases of coronavirus have been reported on any MSC ships.

MSC is “extremely disappointed” with the double rejection.

The ship is now sailing onward to Cozumel, Mexico, the next scheduled port of call.

The Jamaican Ministry of Health released a statement yesterday.

It stated: “A cruise line with over 4,500 passengers and over 1,600 crew members was today (Tuesday, February 25, 2020) denied access to the port of call in Ocho Rios, St. Ann.

“The vessel arrived at approximately 8:30 a.m. and upon inspection by the Port Health Officials, it was discovered that a crew member was placed in isolation on board.

“The crew member had a cough, fever and associated muscle pains with a travel history to a country of interest relating to the COVID-19.”

Dwayne Seymour, health minister of the Cayman Islands, also released a statement.

He said: “In an abundance of caution, in order to provide protection to the health and safety of the residents of the Cayman Islands, the government has denied permission for the cruise ship to call on Grand Cayman as previously scheduled.”

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MSC have said that the sick crew member and all passengers onboard the Meraviglia had passed a health screening before boarding the ship at the weekend.

The cruise ship departed Miami on Sunday and was scheduled to complete a 15-day cruise of Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Bahamas, Belize and Honduras, returning to Miami on March 8, according to an itinerary.

MSC said in a statement sent to Express.co.uk today: “MSC Cruises is extremely disappointed that Jamaican authorities yesterday delayed a decision for many hours to give our ship the necessary clearance to disembark guests, despite us having provided detailed medical records to the local health and national authorities ahead of its arrival as per normal protocol.

“Similarly, the decision taken overnight by the Grand Cayman authorities to refuse disembarkation at Georgetown was made without even reviewing the ship’s medical records, which show one single case of common seasonal flu (type A influenza) affecting one crew member with a travel history clearly showing no passages through territories either affected by COVID-19 (Coronavirus) or subject to any international health restrictions. In both instances, the ship was effectively turned away simply based on fears.

“MSC Meraviglia is currently at sea on her way to Cozumel, Mexico, her next scheduled port of call.

MSC Meraviglia Becomes Biggest Ship to Call in Manhattan

MSC Meraviglia

The MSC Meraviglia made history in the early hours of Monday morning, October 7, as she became the largest cruise ship to dock in New York City as she berthed at the north end of Pier 88 at Manhattan Cruise Terminal. 

“We are so thrilled to welcome MSC Meraviglia, a truly beautiful ship, to the U.S. as she marks another major milestone for MSC Cruises in the North American market,” said Ken Muskat, EVP & Chief Operating Officer of MSC Cruises (USA). “Due to significant demand, for the first time in MSC Cruises history, we now have four distinct ships sailing in the region as MSC Meraviglia joins MSC Seaside, MSC Armonia and MSC Divina. With each ship offering its own unique design and guest experience inspired by our European heritage, we look forward to providing travellers with even more choice and variety to best fit their vacation needs.” 

Meraviglia in New York

Designed to sail in all seasons and climates, the MSC Meraviglia will begin her North America program with three cruises from New York, including two itineraries to New England and Canada and one repositioning to her new homeport in Miami.

On her first Caribbean sailing, departing from NYC on October 28, the MSC Meraviglia will be the first ship to call on Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve, MSC Cruises’ new g private island destination in the Bahamas opening November 9, 2019.

From November 10, 2019, through April 5, 2020, MSC Meraviglia will sail two different seven-night western Caribbean itineraries visiting ports in Jamaica, the Cayman Islands, Mexico, Belize, Honduras and The Bahamas. 

MSC Meraviglia

Following her inaugural season in Miami, MSC Meraviglia will then return to Northern Europe for summer 2020, from April to September.

Upon returning to the U.S. on October 2020, the MSC Meraviglia will once again do three 10-night sailings from New York to Canada & New England before then homeporting back in Miami for seven-night Caribbean sailings.

Disney cruise ship comes to the rescue of Cuban migrants

Cruise ship Disney Wonder rescued 12 Cuban migrants in the Caribbean at the weekend.

The migrants, in an unseaworthy vessel described as “rustic”, were spotted at around 8pm on Saturday evening.

They were taken to the next port of call in the Cayman Islands the next day, according to the Miami coastguard.

News outlets in the US report an increasing number of Cubans are trying to reach the US after relations between the two countries were normalised.

They fear a current law that grants them US residency if they reach the country could be ended.

Cruise ship operators have agreed to notify the authorities if they spot migrants in dangerous vessels and to rescue them if necessary.