(abc11.com) – Two ill-fated cruise ships waited just off Fort Lauderdale’s shores on Thursday to learn when they’ll be allowed to dock at Port Everglades after Carnival Cruise Line reached a conditional agreement with authorities in Florida.
Broward County Commissioner Michael Udine said on Twitter that a final document would be released Thursday morning.
In an email sent Wednesday night, Holland America said it has received approval from a health system in Fort Lauderdale to treat fewer than 10 people “who need immediate critical care.”
Meanwhile, it’s awaiting confirmation to disembark passengers and “get the nearly 1,200 well guests home immediately,” as long as they are fit for travel in accordance with guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control.
“Guests fit for travel per the CDC would transfer straight from the ship to flights for onward travel home, the majority on charter flights,” the statement said. “Out of an abundance of caution, these guests will be transported in coaches that will be sanitized, with limited person-to-person contact and while wearing masks.”
The company said the provisions “well exceed what the CDC have advised is necessary for their travel,” adding that guests have not left the ship since March 14 and have self-isolated in their staterooms since March 22.
Passenger Laura Gabaroni was transferred to the Rotterdam, along with husband Jaun Huergo and other passengers not showing signs of illness. She told The Associated Press early Thursday that they had not been updated by the captain about plans for disembarking from the ship.
Gabaroni and Huergo, both defense contractors in Orlando, set sail on a dream vacation aboard the Zaandam the day before the U.S. State Department advised people to avoid cruise travel and before any substantial restrictions were in place in Florida.
The cruise line said in the statement that about 45 guests who still have mild illness and are unfit to travel at this time will continue to isolate on board until recovered. They would be allowed to leave only after they have recovered and are in alignment with CDC guidelines for being fit to travel.
The statement said that since March 22, 97 guests and 136 crew members have reported influenza-like symptoms. There are 808 guests and 583 crew on Rotterdam, and 442 guests and 603 crew on the Zaandam. there are four children under the age of 12 on board, the statement said.
The Zaandam set sail from Buenos Aires on March 7 and was originally scheduled to end at San Antonio, Chile on March 21. The cruise was stranded off the coast of Panama after it was not allowed to dock in Chile and other ports along its path.