The experiences this weekend of three Princess ships working their way back home illustrate the difficulties lines and their customers on board are facing as ports around the world close to cruise ships and travel -- as well as the difficulties the ports are encountering if they don't close.
Pacific Princess, initially scheduled to sail a 111-day World Cruise that departed 5JAN, 2020, ended its cruise early in Fremantle, Australia on 21MAR.
Here's the statement from Princess:"The local port authority has organized for Pacific Princess to remain alongside in Fremantle for two days to allow the planned disembark of guests to make connecting flights.
The ship has received approval to dock there despite the recent news that Australia has banned cruise lines from coming into ports for the next 30 days.
The local Western Australia Government requires international guests onboard to travel directly from the ship to the airport.
There are a small number of guests who may not meet the International Transport Association (IATA) fitness standards for air travel or are unable to return home by aircraft due to specific medical reasons. These guests will sail back with the ship to Los Angeles, which will take an estimated 23 days."
Coral Princess made a port call to Montevideo, Uruguay, on 21MAR to take delivery of supplies and fuel. No guests were permitted to disembark.
Here's the statement from Princess:“The ship continues to encounter difficulty disembarking their guests due to port closures and changing regulations, therefore Coral Princess set sail directly for Fort Lauderdale, which will take approximately 14 days. There are 1,024 guests onboard.
"This is an unprecedented situation and the operations team at Princess continues to support the Captain and his crew to ensure everyone onboard returns home safely."
Ruby Princess returned to Sydney following a seven-day roundtrip cruise.
Here's the statement from Princess:"We are working closely with New South Wales Health authorities who advised that three guests and a crew member who travelled on Ruby Princess have tested positive for COVID-19.
"Please be advised that all four had reported flu-like symptoms during the cruise and, along with their stateroom occupants, were in isolation on board the ship minimizing contact with other guests and crew.
"We have assisted NSW Health to make contact with all guests who arrived in Sydney yesterday. We support NSW Health’s call for all guests to follow to the letter the Australian Government’s requirement for 14 days self-isolation and to seek medical advice if they experience flu like symptoms."
Since then various media has reported that so far 26 people from the Ruby Princess have tested positive in Australia, including some who caught domestic flights across the country after disembarking.
At press-time, ship tracker Othell Owensby reports Ruby Princess is 33.3 nautical miles away from Sydney port entrance. "There's a notice `for orders' which means she is waiting to hear from the main office on how to proceed," reports Owensby.