Cruise line operator Carnival Corp. revealed on Tuesday it still has 6,000 passengers on its ships across the globe, with some of those passengers not expected to disembark until late April.
“Substantially all our ships have disembarked their passengers. There are approximately 6,000 passengers onboard ships still at sea that are expected to disembark their passengers by the end of April,” Carnival Corp. said in a filing to the U.S. Securities and Exchange Commission.
Carnival owns 100 ships across 10 brands including Princess Cruises, Holland America Line, and Costa Cruises.
The U.S. Coast Guard says it’s working with Holland America on a detailed docking plan that would require two ships carrying passengers and crew from an ill-fated cruise to handle all medical issues without impacting South Florida’s already-stressed hospitals.
A Coast Guard official told the Broward County Commission that if a unified command of state, local and federal officials can’t unanimously agree on what to do with the people on the two ships now headed to Florida, then they’ll punt the decision to Washington.
Passengers are pleading with Florida officials to let them disembark despite a coronavirus outbreak on board.
More than a dozen cruise ships remain stranded at sea right now — some with and some without passengers — as ports deny entry and passengers panic about returning home.
According to the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), only 3.6% of its total fleet (277 ships) remain at sea.
“Flight restrictions and port closures have led to some challenges bringing ships in, however our members are working around the clock to address these road blocks,” a CLIA spokersperson told CNN Travel.
“CLIA is asking ports and governments around the world to allow these ships to come into port so that those onboard can make their way home safely and as quickly as possible.”
Major cruise lines P&O, Cunard, Carnival, Royal Caribbean and Holland America have now extended their ban on cruising until mid-May.
Here are details on some of the cruise ships with passengers that are still in limbo:
Zaandam — Holland America (Carnival)
Status: Sailing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The Zaandam was sailing a South American voyage that departed Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 and was originally supposed to conclude in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21.
Influenza-like symptoms have been reported by 76 guests and 117 crew members. Eight passengers have tested positive for Covid-19.
Four guests on board Zaandam have passed away, the cruise line confirmed on Friday.
“I fear other lives are at risk,” Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line, said in a statement.
No one has exited the ship since it stopped in Punta Arenas, Chile, on March 14. Guests were originally told they could disembark in Chile for flights, but ultimately this was forbidden.
Once flu-like symptoms cropped up on board, those with symptoms were isolated and their traveling companions quarantined. All guests were asked to remain in their staterooms.
The ship stopped in Valparaiso, Chile, to refuel, and now it’s heading to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
All the ports en route are closed to cruise ships, so Holland America deployed another of its ships, Rotterdam, to offer relief.
Rotterdam met Zaandam off Panama in the evening of March 26 to “provide extra supplies, staff, Covid-19 test kits and other support as needed.”
Previously, the ship had no coronavirus test kits on board.
Holland America transferred healthy Zaandam guests to Rotterdam.
There are 797 guests and 645 crew on Rotterdam. On Zaandam, there are 446 guests and 602 crew members.
The guests who moved from Zaandam to Rotterdam completed a health screening beforehand, says Holland America.
Guests on both ships are remaining in their staterooms until the ship disembarks.
On March 29, Holland America confirmed it was granted special approval by the Panama Canal Authority to transit Zaandam and Rotterdam through the Panama Canal.
Zaandam is considering “alternative options” if the plan to disembark in Fort Lauderdale falls through, but the hope is the ship will dock there on March 30.
“We need confirmation from a port that is willing to extend the same compassion and grace that Panama did, and allow us to come in so our guests can go straight to the airport for flights home,” said Ashford, who says the ship tried to disembark passengers earlier in the voyage. “It’s tempting to speculate about the illnesses that may have been avoided or lives saved if we’d gotten the assistance we sought weeks ago.”
Arcadia — P&O Cruises UK (Holland America, Carnival)
Status: Sailing to Southampton, England
Cruise ship Arcadia embarked on a 100-day, round trip World Cruise back in January, in a very different cruising landscape.
Now, the ship is making its way back to Southampton, in the UK. It’s due to arrive on April 12, 2020, on schedule.
The ship is skipping all stops after it was turned away from Cape Town.
“As South African authorities are enforcing additional entry and travel restrictions because of the Coronavirus Covid-19 pandemic, all guests are remaining on board until Southampton, where Arcadia is due to arrive on Sunday 12 April as per the original itinerary,” said P&O Cruises in a statement.
There are no reported cases of Covid-19 on board.
Coral Princess — Princess Cruises (Carnival)
Status: Sailing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida
The Coral Princess departed Santiago, Chile, on March 5. Princess Cruises announced operations were halting one week later.
Princess Cruises tried to negotiate disembarkation in Brazil for guests on board the Coral Princess. Anvisa, the Brazilian Health Regulatory Agency, denied the disembarkation of Coral Princess guests, including those with confirmed outbound flights.
The ship is now traveling directly to Fort Lauderdale, Florida. There are no known cases of Covid-19 on board.
Sara Roberts is one of 374 British passengers on board.
“We are all virus free and want the British government to send a safe repatriation flight to enable us to travel safely home together,” she tells CNN Travel. “Ideally we would like this to happen en route in Barbados.”
“The uncertainty is causing so much stress for some which is not healthy either for them,” Roberts adds.
Roberts, who has two daughters who are doctors, posted a video of the stranded passengers participating in #ClapfortheNHS, a moment of appreciation for frontline medical workers in the UK.
Princess Cruises said internet and guest stateroom telephone service is currently complimentary, to help guests stay in touch with family members.
On March 27, Princess Cruises confirmed that Coral Princess is due to arrive in Bridgetown, Barbados, on March 31.
“During the short time at the port, extra provisions will be brought on board to keep all guests comfortable during the onward journey,” said Princess Cruises in a statement.
“No guests or crew will be permitted to disembark during this time.”
The ship is expected to arrive into Fort Lauderdale on April 4.
Pacific Princess — Princess Cruises (Carnival)
Status: Sailing to Los Angeles, California
The Pacific Princess docked in Australia on Saturday March 21, with the majority of passengers who disembarked on flights March 22 or March 23.
Those who couldn’t fly due to medical reasons remained on board the ship, which is now traveling towards Los Angeles.
According to former passenger CJ Hayden, some of those on board were previously traveling on Holland America’s Amsterdam, which also docked in Fremantle, Australia, on March 21.
Princess Cruises says there are 115 passengers on board and no known cases of Covid-19.
The Pacific Princess is due to arrive in Los Angeles on April 24. It stopped briefly in Melbourne, Australia, to “refuel and replenish provisions,” according to Princess Cruises.
The ship is also expected to dock in Honolulu, Hawaii, for an additional service stop.
A passenger on board, who preferred to remain anonymous, told CNN that despite the circumstances, the voyage has been “another wonderful and enjoyable Princess cruise.
“We are looking forward to the future when we can start sailing again with Princess,” they added.
Queen Mary 2 — Cunard (Carnival)
Status: Sailing to Southampton, England
The Queen Mary 2 set off on a 113-day New York to New York voyage on January 3, 2020.
“Queen Mary 2’s World Voyage was canceled and the ship is currently en route to Southampton from Australia,” says a Cunard spokesperson.
Most guests disembarked in Perth and flew back home from there.
“The only guests who remain on board are those who are unable to fly due to medical reasons,” said Cunard in a statement.
There are 264 guests still on board.
There are no known cases of Covid-19 on board.
MSC Magnifica — MSC Cruises
Status: Sailing to Europe
MSC Magnifica disembarked on a world voyage on January 4, 2020.
The ship’s passengers were not allowed to disembark when the ship docked in Fremantle, Australia, on March 24.
The Magnifica says there are no sick passengers on board.
An MSC spokesperson told CNN Travel: “MSC Magnifica, currently sailing a world cruise, is en route from Australia to Europe.”
Costa Victoria — Costa Cruises (Carnival)
Status: Berthed in Civitavecchia, Italy
The Costa Victoria cruise ship arrived in Civitavecchia, in Italy, on March 25.
Earlier in the voyage a passenger tested positive for coronavirus and was disembarked in Greece.
The disembarkation process in Italy is ongoing.
Columbus — Cruise & Maritime Voyages
Status: Sailing to Tilbury, England
Last week, two Cruise & Maritime Voyages ships, Columbus and Vasco da Gama, met at sea 12 nautical miles off the coast of Phuket, Thailand, to undertake what the cruise line called “a unique passenger transfer and repatriation operation.”
This decision was made to help get passengers on both vessels home as quickly as possible.
Some 239 passengers were transferred between the ships. British nationals transferred onto the Columbus, which is heading to the UK, while Australians and New Zealanders are now on board the Vasco da Gama.
There are no confirmed cases of Covid-19 on either ship.
The Columbus is set to arrive in Tilbury on April 13.
Artania — Phoenix
Status: In Western Australia
The Artania cruise ship embarked on an 140-day world cruise from Hamburg, Germany, to Bremerhaven, Germany, on December 21, 2019.
The ship has now docked in Western Australia.
One passenger, who has since disembarked, tested positive for coronavirus earlier in the journey.
A further 36 passengers tested positive for Covid-19 following a check from Australian health officials upon arrival in Fremantle.
In a statement, cruise line Phoenix Reisen said these passengers were subsequently disemb
arked and quarantined in local hospitals.
Healthy passengers stayed on board the ship until their repatriation flights, which took place on March 29.
The majority of passengers are German. Those from elsewhere in Europe were also taken back to Germany.
According to Phoenix Reisen, 16 passengers, plus hundreds of crew members, decided to stay on board the Artania, and travel back home that way.
Costa Deliziosa (Carnival)
Status: At sea
Costa Deliziosa set sail on an 87-day round world voyage from Venice on January 5, 2020.
When Costa Cruises, owned by Carnival, decided to suspend cruises, Costa Deliziosa was the only cruise that wasn’t immediately canceled.
“The current world tour itinerary will be completed to allow guests to disembark and return home,” was the cruise line’s official statement.
Some passengers disembarked and traveled home when the ship stopped off in Perth on March 16. The ship is due to return to Venice, Italy in April, although the destination could be changed.
The Associated Press contributed to this report.