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Holland America Sending COVID-19 Test Kits to Ship Unable to Dock



Holland America Line is sending another cruise ship with supplies and COVID-19 test kits to meet the Zaandam, which has been turned away from several countries due to coronavirus-outbreak” target=”_self” rel=”nofollow noopener noreferrer”>coronavirus fears. No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile.

As all ports along Zaandam’s route are closed to cruise ships, the Rotterdam will rendezvous with Zaandam to provide extra supplies, staff, COVID-19 test kits and other support as needed. Carrying 611 crew and no guests, Rotterdam departed Puerto Vallarta, Mexico, on March 22.

The current schedule is for the two ships to meet by the evening of March 26 off the coast of Panama, Holland America said in a blog post on March 24.

The company plans to head to Fort Lauderdale for arrival on March 30, although that plan is still being finalized while other options also are being studied. Port Everglades said it was monitoring the situation. “Any decision by Broward County on whether to allow the ship to enter Port Everglades will be determined as more information is available in consultation” with federal and local health authorities. No one has been off the ship since March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile.

On March 22, the Zaandam asked all passengers to remain in their staterooms as 13 guests and 29 crew members reported to the ship’s medical center with influenza-like symptoms. (The Miami Herald reported the number had risen to 77 by March 24.) It was unknown if they were suffering from COVID-19 since the ship had no test kits. There are 1,243 guests and 586 crew on board.

[Read More: Cruise News]

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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.

However, due to global health concerns, Holland America suspended its global cruise operations for 30 days on March 13. Despite previous confirmations that guests could disembark in Punta Arenas for flights, the ship was not permitted to do so.

Zaandam then sailed to Valparaiso, Chile, where it remained at anchor March 20-21 while taking on provisions and fuel, including regular medications for those that needed them. Zaandam departed Valparaiso on March 21 and is currently sailing north.

Internet and guest stateroom telephone services remain complimentary, Holland America also is offering guests and crew complimentary telephone counseling from its care partner, Empathia.

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