FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – Colin Mitchell traveled from Canada to South Florida in search of relaxation and serenity and a voyage to the Panama Canal. He was among the 3,140 guests who could have enjoyed a 10-day voyage on the Princess Cruises’ Caribbean Princess had it not been for COVID-19 cases.
Princess Cruises canceled the voyage on Wednesday at the Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Three patients, who state officials reported on Tuesday are in quarantine, worked for Metro Cruise Services, which provided services to Princess Cruises. The employees worked at various terminals.
Mitchell wasn’t alone in his disappointment. Pricilla Zanoria and Thor Emisson traveled to South Florida from Iceland to celebrate their 40th wedding anniversary. They received a cancelation notice on Tuesday saying there was a shortage of labor at the port.
The U.S. State Department asked Americans to avoid travel by cruise ship and President Donald Trump ordered temporary travel restrictions that will affect tourism from Europe.
Carnival Corp.'s Princess Cruises promised Mitchell, Zanoria, Emisson and other customers refunds and credit for a future cruise over the next year. Princess Cruises is also the operator of the Grand Princess and the Diamond Princess, which are linked to hundreds of COVID-19 cases in Japan and California.
Princess Cruises employees who had worked in the Grand Princess in California were tested while working aboard the Caribbean Princess and the Regal Princess, which were both scheduled to dock at Port Everglades.
After the tests came back negative, federal authorities allowed the Regal Princess to dock at Port Everglades on Sunday and the Caribbean Princess to dock on Wednesday morning. Voyages on both the Regal Princess and the Caribbean Princess were canceled.
Broward Mayor Dale V.C. Holness released a statement Wednesday evening saying “Port Everglades is committed to the health, safety and welfare of the cruise guests who sail to and from the Port annually, as well as the 250 Broward County Port Everglades Department employees and 13,000 people employed by companies doing business at the Port."