FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – The Coral Princess cruise ship is currently sailing a South America voyage amid the coronavirus pandemic and is expected to arrive to Fort Lauderdale on Sunday, April 5.
According to a news release, the ship was expected to sail to Rio de Janeiro Tuesday in an effort to repatriate guests as quickly as possible.
“Although Brazil has been closed to cruise ship traffic, we are working through diplomatic channels to obtain permission and have received positive responses,” the cruise line stated in the news release. “Guests with confirmed homeward flight arrangements will be permitted to disembark and go directly to the airport.”
A passenger on board the ship, Ken Fellman, of Arvada, Colorado, told Local10.com that ultimately no one was allowed to disembark in Rio de Janiero.
“We sat outside of the harbor and were told they were working on an agreement to allow passengers to disembark and fly home,” Fellman said. “Many passengers made flight reservations. Then they told us Brazilian authorities decided to refuse to allow anyone to disembark so we left for Fort Lauderdale without ever docking.”
The cruise line said internet and guest stateroom telephone service will remain complimentary so passengers can stay in touch with their relatives.
According to Fellman, passengers are permitted to roam about the ship.
“A few days ago they checked the entire crew and passengers’ temperature and everyone was fine,” he said. “We have full run of the ship. Most people are frustrated at not being home, and wondering what the situation will be when we get to FLL, but happy to be in a comfortable environment and able to socially interact.”
Fellman said passengers from various countries are concerned and anxious about how they will get home.
“Guests who purchased flights through Princess will be automatically rebooked on flights,” the news release stated. “We recommend that guests with independent arrangements wait to rebook their flights until official confirmation from the port authorities is received. Independent guests will be able to claim reimbursement upon their return home as previously advised.
“This is an unprecedented situation and we thank our guests for their continued patience and understanding. Princess Cruises will continue to provide updates on Coral Princess in the Notices & Advisories section of the online newsroom. The safety, health and well-being of everyone on board remains our highest priority.”