FORT LAUDERDALE, Fla. – A cruise ship with at least 42 people on board experiencing flu-like symptoms is expected to arrive in Florida next week.
Holland America Line said in a statement Sunday that it intends to dock its ship, Zaandam, in Fort Lauderdale on March 30.
The cruise line says 13 guests and 29 crew members reported to the ship’s medical center with flu-like symptoms on Sunday.
Out of an abundance of caution, the cruise line says it has asked all of its 1,243 guests to remain in their rooms.
According to the Holland America, it’s difficult to determine the cause of these elevated cases at this time, because it’s flu season and COVID-19 testing is not available on board.
The ship has activated these precautionary measures out of an abundance of caution:
· All ill people have been isolated and their close contacts have been placed in quarantine.
· Guests have been asked to remain in their staterooms and monitor their health. If they become symptomatic, they are asked to call the medical center for an evaluation and care from the ship’s medical professionals.
· Meal service will be provided by room service until further notice. All public areas are closed.
· The entire ship is operating at maximum sanitation levels, including rigorous cleaning and disinfecting of public and crew areas.
· Crew who are not required for the safe operation of the ship are being quarantined. Those that are needed to maintain the ship’s operation are being asked to self-isolate when not performing essential functions, practice social distancing, self-monitor and report any illness to the medical center.
· Both internet and guest stateroom telephone services remain complimentary so that guests may stay in touch with their families.
“Zaandam was sailing a South America voyage that departed Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21,” wrote the cruise line. “However, due to global health concerns, Holland America Line made the decision to suspend its global cruise operations for 30 days and end its current cruises in progress as quickly as possible and return guests home.”
Holland America says no one has been off Zaandam since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile. The ship is now sailing north.
“Our intention is to proceed to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, for arrival on March 30, however we are still working on securing a reservation to transit the Panama Canal,” wrote the cruise line. “Alternative options are also being developed.”