Cruise lines prepare to sail again while some employees remain on ships anchored at sea

MIAMI – Carnival Cruise Line announced plans to start sailing again this summer, after the coronavirus order is lifted.

It's a decision that raising concerns after several ships owned by the Miami-based company were hit by outbreaks of COVID-19.

29-year-old Ellyott Colon is a performer and dancer on board the Sea Princess cruise ship.

The ship, which sails in and out of Australia, is now here, off the coast of the Philippines.

It's been almost seven weeks since their last sailing was cut short, and his mother wants answers.

"There’s no reason why they have to be stuck on a ship floating without being able to disembark and touch land," said Grace Clemons, Ellyott's mother.

Clemons said both she and even the crew members themselves are getting little information about how and when they’ll go home. The Sea Princess is not alone; Cruise Tracker shows several ships off the coast of the Philippines, with crew members waiting to be repatriated.

"There’s other ships still parked out there and nobody knows anything," Grace said.

All this happening as cruise lines look forward to sailing again. In a statement Norwegian Cruise Line said its cancelling all sailings through June, and plans to relaunch July 1. Carnival’s website shows they hope to resume cruises on eight ships starting August 1.

"They’re the only cruise line to include ships and departure dates," said cruise expert Stewart Chiron. "I think you’re going to see medical checks before people board."

But while the industry is moving forward, Clemons believes it's inappropriate while crew members, like her son, are still stuck in limbo.

“Communication is the number one thing they need, not just for the concerned parents or families calling or emailing the company, but the crew members that are on the ship,” Grace said. “They don’t know. They’re not being told anything.”

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