Per CBS, cruise operator Carnival said it still has 6,000 passengers on its ships at sea amid the widening coronavirus pandemic and that they may not be able to disembark until the end of April.
Carnival, the world’s largest cruise operator, also said some crew members aren’t able to return to their homes and will be housed and fed on the ships. The company disclosed the number of at-sea passengers in a regulatory filing tied to a stock offering.
Cruise line bookings have plunged during the virus outbreak and crushed industry players’ financial results. Carnival shares are down 76% this year.
One Carnival ship, the Zaandam, is pushing to disembark in Florida, but Governor Ron DeSantis has said he doesn’t want the ship to dock in the state. Almost 200 people on the Zaandam have flu-like symptoms, while several have been confirmed to have COVID-19 and four people have died from the disease, according to CBS Miami.
NBC reports when Andrea Anderson and her husband boarded the MS Zaandam cruise ship in Buenos Aires more than three weeks ago, they didn’t know that their trip of a lifetime would disastrously coincide with a global pandemic that would leave them shut out and stranded at sea.
Unable to find a port willing to accept them, their ship has been stuck in a holding pattern for nearly two weeks as it desperately goes from country to country.
So far they have been rejected by Chile, Peru and Argentina, which all sealed their ports amid the coronavirus outbreak.
They are now charting a hope-filled course for the United States, namely Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
“I don’t know if they are going to accept us, I hope they do,” said Anderson, 63, a fiber artist from Maineville, Ohio. “We need to get off this ship.”
Anderson, along with more than 1,200 other passengers, are now pleading with Florida to allow them in, but officials, including Gov. Ron DeSantis, say the state simply does not have the resources to take on an extra burden amid a growing health crisis.
“We cannot afford to have people who are not even Floridians dumped into South Florida using up those valuable resources,” DeSantis told Fox News on Monday.