Coronavirus: Twelve cases confirmed on Princess Cruises ship

Coral Princess Port of Los Angeles - San Pedro Calendar

Twelve cases of coronavirus have been confirmed on the ship Coral Princess.

It is the third Princess Cruises ship to have contracted the deadly virus following a mass outbreak onboard Diamond Princess quarantined in Japan and Grand Princess off the California coast.

The line confirmed on Thursday that Covid-19 tests confirmed 12 positive cases – seven passengers and five crew.

Coral Princess is on its way to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale with an estimated arrival date of April 4.

“Princess Cruises continues to remain in contact with local officials regarding disembarkation details,” a spokesperson said.

The port previously refused access to stranded coronavirus-hit Holland America Line ship Zaandam before intervention by US President Donald Trump which saw the vessel arrive on Thursday.

Coral Princess is carrying 1,020 passengers, who are self-isolating in their cabins, and 878 crew.

“Due to limited flight availability, Coral Princess will remain alongside in Fort Lauderdale for two days to allow all guests to proceed directly from the ship to the airport,” the line said.

“Princess is also working with US Customs and Border Protection to ensure smooth arrival into port. We are also in regular contact with multiple embassies and consulates.”

The ship originally left San Antonio in Chile on a South America voyage on March 5 which was scheduled to end in Buenos Aires on March 19.

But Princess Cruises announced a 60-day pause of operations on March 12 due to the global spread of coronavirus, with a directive to end each cruise as soon as possible.

The ship was then denied the ability to let passengers leave at ports in South America and last made a service call into Bridgetown, Barbados, on Tuesday to take on extra provisions.

Coral Princess was forced to “abruptly depart” Buenos Aires late on March 19, before all passengers were disembarked after Argentine president Alberto Fernandez issued a decree which would have required the ship to remain in port for an “indeterminate” number of days.

“Therefore, the decision was made to leave port immediately,” Princess Cruises said.

The vessel then sailed to Montevideo in Uruguay for supplies and fuel on March 20.

Attempts to disembark passengers in Rio de Janeiro in Brazil was denied three days later.

But at the end of March Coral Princess reported a “higher-than-normal” number of people presenting influenza-like symptoms, resulting in passengers being confined to their cabins and face masks being distributed.

Royal Caribbean Suspends U.S. Cruises, Joining Rivals

March 13 (Reuters) – Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd said on Friday it was suspending its cruises in the United States for 30 days, an hour after Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd said it suspended all its cruise voyages through April 11.

Earlier larger peer Carnival Corp’s Italy-based unit Costa Cruises halted its trips until April 3. Carnival’s other subsidiary Princess Cruises had suspended its voyages for two months on Thursday.

Costa Cruises accounted for 15% of Carnival’s overall capacity as of Nov. 30, offering voyages in Asia and Europe, including the Mediterranean.

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The Princess Cruises unit has been in the spotlight after its Diamond Princess and Grand Princess ships were quarantined after they became hotbeds for coronavirus infections.

Norwegian, however, said no confirmed case of the virus was reported across its 28 ships.

Walt Disney’s Disney Cruise Line and Finland’s Viking Line have also temporarily paused operations as the global cruise industry battles cancellations in the wake of the fast-spreading virus.

The outbreak, described by the World Health Organization as a pandemic, has infected thousands in the Mediterranean countries such as Italy, where it has claimed more than 1,000 lives.

Carnival said it was checking if their guests are aged over 70 years and would deny entry to people with chronic or severe medical conditions.

Separately, credit rating agency S&P Global said it lowered the credit ratings on Carnival and its unsecured debt to ‘BBB’ from ‘A-‘, on expectations of a significant loss in revenue and cash flow in 2020.

Stocks of cruise operators are among the worst hit, with Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean down between 66% and 81% this year through Friday’s close. (Reporting by Praveen Paramasivam in Bengaluru; Editing by Sriraj Kalluvila and Krishna Chandra Eluri)

(c) Copyright Thomson Reuters 2019.

Coronavirus: Grand Princess passengers confined to cabins

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Passengers on a Princess Cruises ship off the coast of California have been confined to their cabins following the death of a guest from coronavirus after a previous cruise.

Health tests were carried out yesterday on 45 passengers and crew on board Grand Princess with the results due today (Friday).

The US Coast Guard delivered sampling kits to the ship by helicopter.

Around 140 Britons are reported to be on the ship.

A spokesperson for the line said: “Princess Cruises can confirm there are 3,533 people currently onboard Grand Princess, including 2,422 guests and 1,111 teammates. In total, they represent 54 nationalities.

“Following guidelines received today from the US Centers of Disease Control, all guests have been asked to stay in their staterooms while test results are pending.

“Guests are receiving meal deliveries in their staterooms by room service, and additional television and movie options have been added to in-room programming.

“Guests have also been provided complimentary internet service to stay in contact with their family and loved ones, and the ship’s internet bandwidth has been increased.

“Immediate family members of guests onboard Grand Princess may call the appropriate number in their region to speak with family assistance representatives: US and Canada: +1 888-358-8055, International: +1 872-201-6779.”

The company stressed that there are no confirmed cases of coronavirus on board.

The line’s Diamond Princess was quarantined in Japan in early February for 27 days. Six of its passengers – including the first Briton – died after contracting the virus.

Meanwhile, Princess Cruises is changing its cancellation policy on a temporary basis for departures up to May 31.

The revised policy is being introduced “to assist passengers in making decisions regarding their cruise holidays during the evolving worldwide coronavirus situation”.

The details vary by departure date:

April 3 or earlier: Cancel up to 72 hours before sailing to receive a future cruise credit (FCC) for 100% of cancellation fees.

April 4-May 31: Cancel by March 31, 2020, and receive an FCC for 100% of cancellation fees.

Meanwhile, for cruises from June 1–June 30, the final payment moves to 60 days prior to sailing from 90 days.

Passengers that choose to keep their booking for departures between March 9 and May 31 will receive the following complimentary onboard spending money:

$100 per cabin for 3-day and 4-day cruises

$150 per cabin for 5-day cruises

$200 per cabin for 6-day and longer cruise