Another Princess Cruise Ship Delayed for Coronavirus Checks

Caribbean Princess (file image)

Published Mar 9, 2020 9:46 PM by The Maritime Executive

Another Princess cruise ship has been held up due to concerns about the possibility of coronavirus infections on board. In addition to the incidents aboard Diamond Princess and Grand Princess, the Caribbean Princess has seen her commercial voyage interrupted due to a small risk of COVID-19 contamination. 

Over the weekend, Caribbean Princess departed Costa Rica for Grand Cayman. While she was under way, operator Princess Cruises informed the Centers for Disease Control that two crewmembers on board had previously worked aboard the Grand Princess and had transferred over at the end of their last voyage - a voyage on which multiple cases of COVID-19 were discovered after disembarkation. 

Since the two crewmembers had transferred from a vessel with known COVID-19 cases on board, CDC has placed a "no sail" order on Caribbean Princess. The two individuals are being tested; they are asymptomatic and are currently in isolation in their staterooms “out of an abundance of caution," Princess said.

Regal Princess experienced near-identical circumstances over the weekend. Two different crewmembers from Grand Princess transferred on board Regal Princess after the previous voyage ended. The two individuals had no symptoms but were isolated and tested as a precautionary measure. They tested negative, and Regal Princess was allowed to disembark her passengers in Port Everglades. The next sailing for Regal Princess - a seven-day Caribbean cruise - has been canceled. 

Other cruise ships recently affected by coronavirus precautionary measures include:

- Costa Magica, which was recently turned away from Tobago, Grenada, St. Lucia and St. Kitts on the possibility of coronavirus risk. About 200 Italian nationals are on board, and Italy's government has launched stringent quarantine measures to contain a national epidemic. Costa Magica is expected to berth in Martinique on Thursday. 

- Costa Fortuna, which was turned away from Thailand and Malaysia after port officials learned that 64 Italian nationals were on board. Costa Fortuna is scheduled to dock in Singapore to offload her passengers on Tuesday, and her next sailing has been canceled. 

- MSC Opera, which last week reached a mutual agreement not to dock in Malta "following public alarm raised by misleading information given by a local media outlet," according to MSC. A former MSC Opera passenger had previously tested positive for COVID-19 after returning to his home country, raising concerns in Malta. After departing Maltese waters, MSC Opera called in Messina, Sicily, where she was permitted to disembark her passengers on Saturday. 

- Carnival Panorama, which was delayed in disembarking her passengers in Long Beach, California while awaiting coronavirus test results for a passenger. The individual tested negative for the disease, and all passengers were allowed to disembark on Sunday. 

The cruise industry is moving to address coronavirus concerns. After a meeting with top administration officials Saturday, the Cruise Lines International Association said that it will implement more stringent boarding procedures, add additional onboard medical resources and temperature screenings at embarkation. It will also develop industry-funded protocols to care for guests on land in the event of an incident to eliminate future incidents of onboard quarantine. CLIA expects to report back this week with further details on the development of these “aggressive new measures.”

“Our commitment here today and going forward is to work closely with government and to go above and beyond anything we are currently doing - to screen even more stringently to prevent those who should not be allowed to board; to monitor, test, and care for those who are on board; and to transition and help pay for any guests or crew to move to locations staffed and equipped to handle COVID-19 cases," said Adam Goldstein, the chairman of the Cruise Lines International Association.