Image Credit: File

Florida: Officials on one of the cruise ships that has been trying to find a port where it can offload passengers told all guests to stay in their rooms Sunday after 42 people reported to the medical center with "influenza-like symptoms."

It wasn't known what made the 13 passengers and 29 crew members sick on Zaandam, a Holland America Line ship, Sunday morning. There are no tests aboard for the novel coronavirus, which has infected hundreds of passengers on at least a dozen other ships around the world.


"Out of an abundance of caution, we have now asked all guests to remain in their staterooms until we have more information," the Carnival Corp.-owned line said in a statement. The ship's public areas are closed, and all meals are being delivered to staterooms.

Also unknown is when the ship might finally reach land. Holland America says the intention is for Zaandam to make it to Fort Lauderdale, Florida, by March 30, though the company is working to lock down a reservation to travel through the Panama Canal.

"Alternative options are also being developed," the statement said.

The ship has 1,829 people - 1,243 guests and 586 crew. The last time any passengers were off the ship was March 14 in Punta Arenas, Chile.

Holland America said it is following protocols developed with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.

Everyone who is sick has been isolated, and their close contacts have been quarantined. All other guests were asked to monitor their health and call the medical center if they have symptoms. Crew members who are not necessary to safely operate the ship are also being quarantined.


people are aboard the Zaandam, a Holland America Line ship.

"Those that are needed to maintain the ship's operation are being asked to self-isolate when not performing essential functions, practice social distancing, self-monitor and report any illness to the medical center," the company's statement said.

The global cruise industry halted operations earlier this month for at least 30 days due to the pandemic, but several voyages were already underway at the time - and many ships have not been able to find a port willing to let passengers disembark as governments around the world add restrictions.

The Zaandam, which left Buenos Aires on March 7, was originally scheduled to end the voyage on March 21 in San Antonio, Chile. But after the shutdown was announced, the ship had hoped to let passengers disembark on March 16 in Punta Arenas, Chile. Officials would not let anyone off, and in recent days the line said it intended to send the ship to Fort Lauderdale.

The ship anchored off Valparaiso, Chile, on Friday and Saturday to bring on more fuel and supplies, including medications for passengers who needed refills.