FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Thousands of passengers on an additional Princess Cruises ship are being kept on board while crew members get tested for COVID-19.
The Caribbean Princess, on a 10-day trip to the Panama Canal, was scheduled to dock in Grand Cayman on Monday. But the Çalifornia-based cruise line said it will keep passengers and crew from disembarking, and instead will pick up test kits after notifying the CDC that two crew members had transferred from a Princess ship in California where a guest had tested positive for COVID-19.
These crew members being tested are currently "asymptomatic" and are remaining alone in their rooms “out of an abundance of caution" as the ship returns to Fort Lauderdale, the company statement said.
The ship is under a “no sail order” from the U.S Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, requiring it to remain at anchor off the coast of Florida until further notice, the statement said. It was originally scheduled to return Wednesday to Fort Lauderdale.
The Regal Princess underwent a similar process, spending most of a day sailing up and down the Florida coast, before finally pulling into Port Everglades late Sunday. Its passengers finally disembarked after two crew members tested negative for the coronavirus. Those crew members also lacked symptoms, but had come from the Grand Princess in California, where at least 21 people tested positive.
Last month, Japanese authorities quarantined the Diamond Princess cruise ship off the port of Yokohama for a harrowing two weeks after 10 passengers were initially diagnosed with the disease.
Many countries, including the United States, evacuated their residents from the ship, and Japan drew criticism for keeping people on board. In the end, nearly 700 people among the 3,700 passengers tested positive for the disease, and at least six people have died.
The U.S. State Department advised Sunday against any travel on cruise ships, particularly for those with underlying health conditions. The advisory said the CDC has noted an “increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment.”