Coronavirus-hit Zaandam still at sea, President of Holland America pleads for compassion

   March 31, 2020 ,   Accidents

Two cruise ships carrying passengers and crew from an ill-fated South American voyage are pleading with Florida officials to allow offloading the dead and sick, but Gov. Ron DeSantis says the health care resources of Florida are already stretched too thin.

Two HAL-Holland America Line-operated vessels - ms Zaandam and its fleetmate ms Rotterdam - are currently en-route to Florida. All their passengers are isolated to their staterooms hoping Florida to allow disembarkation despite confirmed Coronavirus (COVID-19) cases (including 4 virus-related deaths) on Zaandam.

DeSantis said he had been in contact with the White House and the USCG about diverting the vessels, and local officials were meeting on Tuesday to decide whether to allows docking and debarkation in Port Everglades (Fort Lauderdale Florida).

HAL said Rotterdam had taken on nearly 1400 people who appeared to be healthy, leaving 450 passengers and 602 crew on ms Zaandam, including 190+ who said they were sick. More than 300 US citizens are on both vessels combined.

ms Zaandam cruise ship

MS Zaandam departed Buenos Aires on March 7 which was just a day before the U.S. State Department issued an advisory to avoid cruises and before substantial restrictions were in place in Florida. Two days later, DeSantis declared a state of emergency in the state.

The vessel was originally scheduled to sail to San Antonio, Chile, and depart on March 21 for a 20-day voyage to arrive in Fort Lauderdale FL early April. However, beginning March 15, ms Zaandam was denied entry by South American cruise ports, even before cruisers reported first flu-like symptoms on March 22.

For other ms Zaandam accidents and incidents see at the ship's CruiseMinus page.

For Coronavirus updates on cruise ship quarantines (infected passengers and crew) and top-pandemic countries (COVID-19 cases and deaths, daily updated statistics) see at CruiseMapper's Norovirus page.