Another cruise ship with sick people aboard is headed for Florida

Tribune Content Agency

FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. — Another cruise ship with sick people on board is planning to disembark in Fort Lauderdale.

Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess has a “higher-than-normal” number of people with flulike symptoms and plans to bring them to Port Everglades on April 4 following a service call in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Tuesday night, the cruise line said in a statement released Tuesday.

“Many” of the sick passengers have tested positive for regular influenza, the statement said, adding, “However, given the concern surrounding COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution, guests have been asked to self-isolate in their staterooms and all meals will now be delivered by room service.”

Crew members will remain in their staterooms when not working, the statement said.

It is not known whether any of the sick people are carrying COVID-19. Ships typically do not have tests on board. Officials of Princess Cruises and its parent company, Miami-based Carnival Corp., did not immediately respond to questions about the matter.

Coral Princess started its voyage in Santiago, Chile, on March 5, days before all of the world’s major cruise lines suspended operations to help slow the virus’ spread.

Despite earlier assurances that passengers did not have the coronavirus, health officials in Brazil turned down the cruise line’s request to let passengers disembark in that country and take flights home, according to a report on CNN’s website.

A British website, Kent Online, reported on Monday that the ship is carrying 2,000 passengers. About 400 Britons are among them, the site said.

No decision has been made by local officials about allowing the ship to dock at Port Everglades. On Tuesday, Broward County commissioners delayed a decision on allowing two Holland America ships, including one with nine confirmed coronavirus patients, to come to the port on Wednesday or Thursday. Commissioners said they wanted to first review a report from the cruise line detailing how it would handle sick people on board.

Holland America is also owned by Carnival Corp.

Commissioner Mark Bogen criticized Princess Cruises for failing to alert county officials that its ship Crown Princess had a sick person aboard when it docked at Port Everglades on Tuesday morning. That person was taken to a hospital, while some crew members on board are being held in isolation. The nature of their illnesses is unknown.

Bogen said of that ship, “I have a lot of concern when a company would bring sick people and not inform the county.”

Ellen Kennedy, Port Everglades spokeswoman, said cruise lines aren’t required to notify the county-owned port authority about sick people, whether passengers or crew members. “That is handled by the [U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention] and the Coast Guard,” she said.


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