Norwegian Cruise Line’s Norwegian Jewel was finally allowed to dock in Honolulu on March 22 after being turned away from several ports due to coronavirus fears. Passengers embarked the ship on Feb. 28 in Sydney, Australia, and were last able to disembark in Fiji on March 11.
The ship’s 2,000 passengers will undergo enhanced medical screening before disembarking on March 23. About 1,000 crew members will remain aboard. The Norwegian Jewel previously was allowed to dock in Honolulu Harbor on March 18 to refuel and restock on food and supplies, but passengers were not allowed to disembark.
There are no confirmed or suspected cases of COVID-19 on the ship, the cruise line said in a statement.
The passengers will be transferred from the ship to chartered planes.
“A detailed plan is being developed with Norwegian Cruise Line that keeps passengers isolated to avoid any potential strain on Hawaii’s resources, while also addressing the well-being of the cruise line passengers who have been at sea for a very long time,” said Jade Butay, director of the Hawaii Department of Transportation (HDOT). “Because of the additional precautions we are taking in response to the COVID-19 crisis, it will take some time to transport these passengers safely to their chartered planes, and we thank the public for its cooperation and understanding.”
In its statement, HDOT said the Norwegian Jewel experienced propulsion problems that require repairs that cannot be made with passengers onboard. That prompted the state to allow the passengers to disembark.
Norwegian Jewel was the last vessel in the Norwegian Cruise Line fleet with guests aboard at sea. All ships will soon be berthed in ports around the world until the temporary sailing suspension is lifted.
Cruise ships are on a 30-day pause in operations that took effect March 14. The Norwegian Jewel was already underway and had not planned to travel to the United States.
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