Thailand turns Westerdam Away

The Westerdam, pictured above, has also been turned away by the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. Its owner Holland America Line says there are no coronavirus cases on-board

Thailand becomes the latest country to turn away Westerdam cruise ship as it bars passengers from disembarking despite no cases of coronavirus on board

The Westerdam, pictured above, has also been turned away by the Philippines, Taiwan and Japan. Its owner Holland America Line says there are no coronavirus cases on-board.

There are more than 43,000 coronavirus cases declared in the world so far and 1,018 deaths
There are more than 43,000 coronavirus cases declared in the world so far and 1,018 deaths

The chief of the Department of Disease Control Suwanchai Wattanayingcharoenchai said Tuesday that the Public Health Ministry had rejected a request from the crew of the MS Westerdam to dock at Laem Chabang in eastern Thailand.

Prime Minister Prayuth Chano-cha confirmed the ban but said Thailand was looking a way to give humanitarian assistance and will be able to provide the ship with necessities such as fuel and food.

The Westerdam began its cruise on January 16 in Singapore. Shipowner Holland America Line says there are no known cases of the virus on board.

Thai Public Health Minister Anutin Charnvirakulhad indicated on his Facebook page several hours before the official announcement that the ship would be denied entry.

The Westerdam, shown by the yellow ship, is currently rounding the bottom of Vietname and heading towards Thailand

The Westerdam, shown by the yellow ship, is currently rounding the bottom of Vietnam and heading towards Thailand

He posted his declaration after Holland America announced it was sailing to Laem Chabang, where passengers would disembark on February 13 to take flights home from Bangkok. The announcement by the shipowner attracted much attention among Thai social media users.

Holland America had already announced that passengers would receive a complete refund. It said a scheduled departure of the Westerdam on Feb. 15 from Yokohama had been cancelled and planned departures after Feb. 28 were being assessed.

Sapphire Princess Sails Along Straits of Malacca for Solar Eclipse

Onboard the Sapphire Princess for the Solar Eclipse

Guest onboard the Sapphire Princess viewed the annular solar eclipse that occurred early in the afternoon of Boxing Day along the Straits of Malacca.

More than 2,600 guests from around the world embarked Sapphire Princess in Singapore on Dec. 17 for an 11-day voyage around Southeast Asia visiting ports including Nha Trang and Ho Chi Minh City (Vietnam), Sihanoukville (Cambodia), Bangkok, Koh Samui and Port Klang before arriving in Singapore on Dec. 28.

Guests and crew were given solar filter glasses to safely view the phenomenon. Hundreds of guests gathered on the upper deck of the ship to witness the solar eclipse.

“Guests onboard were delighted to witness the once-in-a-lifetime ‘ring of fire’ solar eclipse onboard Sapphire Princess while celebrating Christmas and Boxing Day,“ said Farriek Tawfik, Director Southeast Asia, Princess Cruises.

Norwegian Joy

The Norwegian Joy is out of the drydock in Singapore and heading for the West Coast ahead of her debut into the booming Alaska cruise market.

After a year-and-a-half in the Chinese cruise business, the ship has been Westernized and will sail from Seattle for the summer season.

Norwegian Joy

MJM Marine was appointed as the main outfitting contractor by Norwegian Cruise Line for the refurbishment of Norwegian Joy as the company played the lead role in the design, manufacture, installation and project management of the interior refit of the ship.

While work began in early March in China, the ship’s Pacific crossing will be a working event with no guests, with interior renovations set to conclude later this month as the ship reaches Seattle.

Among new shows for guests will be Footloose along with the aerial acrobatics show, Elements, and the wine-tasting comedy, Wine Lovers: The Musical.

Photos: Singapore Cruise Society