Holland America Line said four senior passengers died on her cruise ship ZAANDAM which has had an outbreak of flu like symptoms on board, including at least two confirmed cases of COVID-19 on Friday 27th March, 2020.
ZAANDAM was still at sea when President Donald Trump asked cruise companies to cease new voyages. The company said that on Thursday 26th March she sent another liner ROTTERDAM that made a rendezvous with ZAANDAM and delivered medical supplies to test passengers and crew for COVID-19, after several started showing flu like symptoms. So far, two people have tested positive for COVID-19, Holland America said. It said 53 guests and 85 crew members have gone to ZAANDAM’s medical area with flu like signs.
The liner was on a cruise around South America that left March 7th from Buenos Aires, Capital of Argentina and had been set to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21st. But the cruise industry was essentially shut down over the coronavirus mid voyage, and no one has been off the ship since March 14th. She is currently off Panama along with ROTTERDAM and both ships plan to sail for Fort Lauderdale, Florida, according to Holland America.
Meanwhile the cruise liner MAASDAM that had her cruise beginning in New Zealand and scheduled for a leisurely tour of South Pacific islands has turned into a nightmare for more than 800 passengers, including 17 from Australia. She was scheduled to make 18 port stops on her way to San Diego, California, but only managed five as the coronavirus pandemic spread across the globe.
There were no known or suspected cases of COVID-19 among the 842 guests and 542 crew onboard, but officials in Hawaii and other ports declined to let passengers off the ship. MAASDAM arrived in San Diego on Thursday 26th March and according to her Captain statement that all luggage will be taken ashore on Friday 27th March morning and passengers will disembark over a 2 day period of 27th & 28th which they are expected to be taken directly from the ship in San Diego to airports on buses for flights home. Crew will all have to remain onboard and then the ship will leave and probably to anchor somewhere off Mexico.
She departed Auckland on March 1st for the 34 day cruise with the original itinerary including stops in Fiji, Tonga, the Cook Islands, French Polynesia, Tahiti and Hawaii before ending in San Diego on April 3rd. Passengers were left worried and confused when in mid March the spread of the coronavirus on other ships and around the world led to port calls being cancelled and changes to the route.
Passengers were told the cruise would end early in Hilo, Hawaii on March 20, leading passengers to cancel their original flights out of San Diego. Hilo residents threatened on social media to organise a flotilla to block the ship from docking in Hilo. In fact she was diverted to Honolulu, but Hawaiian officials allowed just Hawaiian residents and an injured Colorado passenger and her spouse off the ship. She received fuel and food supplies and embarked for San Diego.
Images of MAASDAM entering Valletta, Malta back to 30th October 2015.
Holland America Line is represented in Malta by Malta Cruise Services, a division of Mifsud Brothers Ltd – www.mbl.com.mt
Photos by Capt. Lawrence Dalli. Do not use these images without my permission. © All rights reserved. Malta Ship Photos & Action Photos – www.maltashipphotos.com
Published – Saturday 28th March, 2020