Westerdam arrives in Cambodia

The Westerdam

Holland America Line’s Westerdam has arrived in Sihanoukville, Cambodia, after being rejected by five other Asian countries.

The ship, with 1,455 passengers and 802 crew onboard, had been turned away the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan, Guam and most recently Thailand, over coronavirus concerns. There are no confirmed cases onboard.

“The Westerdam has arrived and local officials are aboard,” Holland America said in a statement. The line expressed gratitude yesterday to the Cambodian authorities “for their support” and reiterated that “all guests onboard are healthy, and despite erroneous reports, there are no known or suspected cases of coronavirus on board, nor have there ever been.”

The ship will remain in port for several days for disembarkation, Holland America said, and guests will transfer via charter flights to Phnom Penh for forwarding travel home. The cruise line said it will arrange and pay for all flights home, in addition to the full refund and a 100% future cruise credit.

The Westerdam is on a 14-day cruise that departed Hong Kong Feb. 1 and was previously scheduled to disembark Feb. 15 in Yokohama, Japan.

Holland American cancelled the Feb. 15 cruise scheduled to embark in Yokohama. The line said no further cancellations have been finalized and it is assessing the impact of current port restrictions in Asia on cruises departing Feb. 29 or later.

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.

Costa Venezia Poised for Taiwan Stint

Costa Serena

The new Costa Venezia is heading for China in 2019 after her delivery from Fincantieri, and will also spend a month sailing from Taiwan next May, according to local media reports.

The 4,232-guest ship is a sister to the Carnival Vista and will spend next May on charter to a local tour operator in Taiwan, offering cherry blossom-themed sailings to Japan, according to Taiwan media.

The report said the ship would carry around 12,000 guests from Keelung, noting at least one cruise will be an eight-day sailing will include port calls in Kagoshima, Miyazaki and Osaka.

Pictured above: the Costa Serena in Keelung, Taiwan, earlier this month.