Today we received the following information from several crew members on the Voyager of the Seas which is sailing an Australia itinerary after departing from Sydney. The future scheduled ports include Mystery Island and Vila in Vanuatu as well as several ports of call in New Caledonia – Mare, Lifou, and Noumea:
“The Voyager of the Seas has 2 or 3 crew members with flu-like symptoms aboard. The Vanatu and New Caledonia islands are not permitting the ship to disembark passengers due to concerns over coronavirus. Noumea initially said that it will accept passengers and crew but a few hours ago no one was allowed to disembark after the ship which docked for a short time. It was a big mess on the ship with guests upset and security was involved with a dispute with the guest relations desk.”
A passenger also posted the following information on Twitter:
@RoyalCaribbean @RoyalCaribPR I’m in Voyager Of The Seas. Just had an announcement that due to staff having flu we can’t go to Vanuatu. This cruise has already had 2 changes now I don’t know where im going?
— Billy Jones (@billyj511) February 28, 2020
Royal Caribbean has not responded to this tweet.
Cruise lines obviously do not want to see a repeat of the Diamond Princess which underwent a quarantine which resulted in over 700 passengers and crew being infected with COVID-19. Many ports of call are particularly sensitive to permitting cruise ships to call with any passengers or crew members who may have flu-like symptoms.
In a widely reported news, several cruise ships have been denied permission to call on ports at various locations around the world over coronavirus concerns. The MSC Meraviglia was denied access to Ocho Rios, Jamaica and the Caymans after a crew member apparently had influenza. It was eventually permitted to dock in Cozumel after the ship was given a clean bill of health.
According to a Costa ship employee, on the Costa Mediterranea: “Mauritius authorities banned Italian guests on the ship from entering the country due to coronavirus concerns. Also shore leave in Port Louis, Mauritius for Italian crew members was cancelled.” Also, Mauritius is blocking several hundred people (passengers and crew) from Italy who arrived on an Alitalia flight.
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Photo credit: Voyager of the Seas in Sydney, Australia – Amnesiac86 CC BY-SA 4.0, commons / wikimedia.