FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Another Princess cruise ship is under the coronavirus microscope, and this one is located off the coast of South Florida.
The Regal Princess was supposed to dock at Port Everglades early Sunday morning, but those plans were put on hold due to a couple of crew members who may have been exposed to coronavirus.
On Sunday night, the Regal Princess docked at Port Everglades after the CDC cleared the ship to return to Cruise Terminal 2.
According to a letter obtained by Local 10 News, passengers aboard the Regal Princess were informed that the U.S. Centers of Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) requested information on two crew members who previously served on the Grand Princess, which has had several confirmed cases of coronavirus on board.
As of Sunday morning, over 3,500 passengers and crew remained aboard the Grand Princess, which is floating off the coast of California. That’s because 21 people, 19 of which are crew members, tested positive for coronavirus.
The letter given to Regal Princess passengers states that those crew members “are past the understood maximum incubation of COVID-19 and are asymptomatic.” It also states they “received a precautionary screening by the Medical Staff upon boarding Regal Princess to test for respiratory symptoms, including fever.”
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After receiving information about the crew members from the cruise line, the CDC made the decision to keep all passengers and crew on board, offshore, until the two employees can be tested for coronavirus.
Due to that decision, the Regal Princess’ planned disembarkation, which was scheduled to take place Sunday morning, was delayed.
According to the CDC, test results can take between 24 and 48 hours to obtain.
The cruise line is offering to reimburse passengers for any “unexpected expenses” which includes flight “change fees, increased flight costs (within the same class of service), and transportation expenses,”as well as up to $300 for a night’s hotel stay in the Fort Lauderdale area.
The letter given to passengers can be seen below.
Additionally, passengers arriving at Port Everglades on Sunday morning with plans to sail on the Regal Princess are being told that their cruise has been cancelled.
There is no word on when the ship will dock at Port Everglades to allow passengers to disembark, or when the now-cancelled cruise that was scheduled to leave on Sunday afternoon will be rescheduled, if at all.
Later in the day, the United States Travel - State Department tweeted a recommendation that U.S. citizens should not travel aboard any cruise ships.
U.S. citizens, especially with underlying conditions, should not travel by cruise ship. #CDC notes increased risk of #COVID19 on cruises. Many countries have implemented screening procedures, denied port entry rights to ships and prevented disembarking. https://t.co/jh93gZTkpC pic.twitter.com/jI6S0UceVg— Travel - State Dept (@TravelGov) March 8, 2020
There have been two presumptive cases of coronavirus in Broward County. The patients are 65 and 75 years old. Both are cruise-related and both are under quarantine.
Overall, there have been two deaths in Florida due to coronavirus, one in Lee County and the other in Santa Rosa County.
Sunday morning, Manatee, Okaloosa, Volusia, Charlotte and Lee Counties were reporting new presumptive cases of COVID-19.