Passengers Reckon With U.S. Coast Guard Guidance That Could Leave Virus-Stricken Cruise Ships At Sea ‘Indefinitely’
When Rick and Wendy de Pinho left Buenos Aires on March 7 onboard the Holland America Line cruise ship MS Zaandam, things felt “perfectly normal.” The New Jersey couple were concerned about the spread of coronavirus, they tell TIME, but at the time of their departure there were few confirmed cases in South America and the cruise line had assured them that steps were being taken to protect guests, including enhanced passenger screenings and increased cleaning protocol.
Three weeks later, however, and things are far from normal. Over the past month, COVID-19, the disease caused by novel coronavirus, has spread worldwide and been classified by the World Health Organization as a pandemic.
By March 13, every major cruise line had temporarily suspended its operations, leaving ships mid-voyage, like the Zaandam, scrambling to find ways to get passengers home. Multiple South American countries have since rejected the Zaandam‘s request to dock and allow passengers to disembark.
On Sunday, Ma..Read More