Passengers aboard Celebrity Eclipse were asked to self-quarantine for the next 14 days after the ship docked in San Diego on Monday. Despite a relatively smooth voyage, three crew members and one passenger had tested positive for coronavirus.
Celebrity Eclipse originally departed from Argentina on March 1 for a two-week voyage before major cruise lines, including the owner brand Royal Caribbean, called for a suspension on all cruises on March 13.
The ship was denied port in San Antonio, Chile before Chilean residents were allowed to disembark in Valparaiso. The ship was then granted clearance to disembark in San Diego. No symptoms of coronavirus were reported at the time.
County health officials confirmed four cases of coronavirus on the ship on Monday. The passenger has been hospitalized and is currently “in serious condition.” One crew member has been also been hospitalized, but the patient’s condition is currently unknown. According to Fox News, Celebrity Cruises did not provide further updates on the conditions of the other crew members.
Officials of San Diego County said the remaining passengers would disembark from the ship at midnight on Tuesday. Passengers claimed to receive an email from the cruise line instructing them to self-quarantine for two weeks, check their temperature twice a day and practice social distancing upon returning home.
Those experiencing symptoms were told to stay home and seek medical care if necessary. All passengers were screened prior to departure.
A spokesperson for Celebrity Cruises told Fox News “the work continues” when asked if any passengers still currently remain on the ship.
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Viking Extends Suspension of Cruising Through August 31
“We were the first cruise line to announce a temporary suspension of operations. We have continued to evaluate the situation, responding accordingly,” Viking Chairman Torstein Hagen wrote in a May 28 post on the company website. “While restrictions related to COVID-19 are beginning to ease in some countries, travel remains complicated. Therefore, we have made the decision to extend our temporary suspension of operations through Aug. 31, 2020.”
The company is offering 125 percent credit to passengers booked on canceled voyages. “It is fully transferable, allowing you to gift it to someone with whom you would like to share the joys of travel. It can be applied within the next 24 months to any river, ocean or expedition cruise,” Hagen wrote. “If you are unable to use your voucher by the expiration date, simply return your expired voucher to Viking, and we will send you a refund equal to the original amount paid to Viking.”
For more details on credits and refunds, click here.
Hagen said the company is developing new safety protocols and taking care of its crew members.
“We have always had the highest standards for health and cleanliness—and are now developing additional protocols to make traveling with Viking even safer. We will be sharing more information about this very soon,” he wrote. “Also, during this time of non-operation, we are further training our crew and preparing our fleet to welcome you onboard again. Since our first announcement, many of you have expressed concern for our crew, and I want to reassure you that we are continuing to take good care of them.”
Hagen said he is seeing signs of hope in Europe. “I am delighted to note that in the past couple of weeks, hope has emerged here in Europe. In Switzerland, restaurants and shops opened two weeks ago, and I must admit it was a great treat to go to my favorite Italian restaurant the other day. Last week, I had my first day in the office – with a mask and proper distancing. It now also looks as though the local borders in Europe are starting to open up.”
Viking plans to launch the ocean ship Viking Venus Early next year and, in 2022, will welcome new expedition vessels, Viking Octantis and Viking Polaris, that will sail the Arctic, Antarctic and North America’s Great Lakes, and a modern river vessel, Viking Mississippi.
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