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.

Norovirus outbreak on Oasis of the Seas

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More than 270 passengers have reportedly fallen ill with Norovirus on Royal Caribbean International’s Oasis of the Seas.

Passengers were kept on board for hours after it docked at Falmouth port in Jamaica on Wednesday (January 9).

The ship was on a seven-night cruise through the Caribbean, but passengers have been told they will have their cruise fares refunded in full following the outbreak.

A Royal Caribbean spokesperson told Travel Weekly: “Oasis of the Seas will return to Port Canaveral [in Florida] a day early after an episode of gastrointestinal illness.

“A total of 277 guests and crew members have been affected since the ship departed on January 6 — about 3.3 per cent of the people aboard the ship.

“All of the ship’s guests will receive full refunds of their cruise fare paid.

“We think the right thing to do is to get everyone home early rather than have guests worry about their health. Returning on Saturday also gives us more time to completely clean and sanitize the ship before her next sailing.

“Our guests sail with us to have great holidays, and we are sorry this cruise fell short.”

Passenger Alan Thomas tweeted: “Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean. We’re docked at Falmouth Jamaica. Level 3 Norovirus outbreak. 100+ passengers and a crew member sick. Cancelled shore excursion. Waiting to see if Jamaican authorities let us off the ship.#refund #lostvacation #disappointed #royalcarribean.”

Oasis of the Seas, Royal Caribbean. We’re docked at Falmouth Jamaica. Level 3 Norovirus outbreak. 100+ passengers and a crew member sick. Cancelled shore excursion. Waiting to see if Jamaican authorities let us off the ship. #refund #lostvacation #disappointed #royalcarribean

— Alan Thomas (@alan_thomas13)

Royal Caribbean Ship Saves Men Trapped at Sea for 20 Days

Royal Caribbean's Empress of the SeasPHOTO: Royal Caribbean International’s Empress of the Seas. (photo courtesy of Royal Caribbean International)A Royal Caribbean ship forced to change its itinerary due to storms found and rescued two sailors Friday who had been stranded at sea for 20 days.

According to the Miami Herald, Royal Caribbean’s Empress of the Seas departed from Miami on December 17 and was sailing between Grand Cayman and Jamaica as part of the storm-impacted itinerary.

Crew members operating the radar system for the Empress of the Seas noticed an anomaly that turned out to be a small fishing boat floating in the water. Royal Caribbean called for emergency rescue and pulled the two men who had been stranded for 20 days out of the water.

Royal Caribbean Chief Meteorologist James Van Fleet shared images of the rescue and praised the quick thinking of the ship’s crew on Twitter:

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James Van Fleet@JamesVanFleet

More pics to share from @RoyalCaribbean rescuing 2 Mariners who had been at Sea for 20 DAYS in that small boat between and ! See last pic for story. UNREAL and so PROUD of Officers and Crew! Thank you @jleberle and @caryjames007 for pics.

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The Empress of the Seas is scheduled to return to Miami on December 23 after visits to George Town, Grand Cayman Island; Cienfuegos, Cuba; and Havana, Cuba.