While cruise ships sailing from U.S. ports have largely been spared issues related to the coronavirus, there are reports that a major cruise ship has been denied from porting after a crew member became ill.
The MSC Meraviglia, which is on a cruise from Miami, arrived in Ocho Rios, Jamaica earlier today. However, according to reports, it was denied from letting passengers disembark due to the fact that a crew member on the ship has fallen ill.
A statement from Jamaica’s Ministry of Health & Wellness said:
“A cruise line with over 4,500 passengers and over 1,600 crew members was today (Tuesday, February 25, 2020) denied access to the port of call in Ocho Rios, St. Ann. The vessel arrived at approximately 8:30 a.m. and upon inspection by the Port Health Officials, it was discovered that a crew member was placed in isolation on board.
“The crew member had a cough, fever and associated muscle pains with a travel history to a country of interest relating to the COVID-19.”
MSC made a statement to Mirror, which confirmed that the ship had been delayed. After several hours, it decided to sail on to its next port of call in the Cayman Islands.
“As is standard practice when a vessel approaches each port of call during a cruise, the ship’s command has to report any illness on board to the relevant local health authorities. Upon arrival this morning MSC Meraviglia reported one single case of common flu (type A influenza) affecting a crew member from the Philippines.
“The crew member had embarked at the beginning of the cruise in Miami, after passing the mandatory health screening that all of our guests and crew members receive before joining the cruise, a precautionary measure that we have implemented fleetwide.
“The local port health authority in Ocho Rios today requested further guidance from the National Ministry of Health in Jamaica’s capital of Kingston.
“After waiting in port for nearly four hours for formal clearance, ship’s command decided to leave Ocho Rios for the next port of call as the long wait had compromised the passengers’ proposed time at the destination.
“All MSC Meraviglia’s guests and crew have been screened individually upon embarkation, both in terms of their travel history as well as their health.
“MSC Cruises denies embarkation to anyone – crew and guest alike – who has travelled to, from or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau, as well as to people who during the past 14 days have travelled to, from or through any of the municipalities that are subject to quarantine in central northern Italy.
“In addition to this, all MSC Cruises ships also conduct individual pre-boarding screening by thermal cameras to identify guests or crew members with signs or symptoms of illness such as fever or feverishness, chills, cough or difficulty breathing. This will also result in denied embarkation.
“The crew member had travelled to Miami from Manila, via direct connection in Istanbul. He developed symptoms of common flu and tested positive to type A influenza after he visited the ship’s 24/7 Medical Centre while already on board. He has no other symptoms.
“MSC Cruises apologises for any inconvenience caused and the disappointment to its guests in connection with today’s missed call due to the delay in receiving clearance.”
The next port of call on the Meraviglia’s itinerary is Grand Cayman, followed by Cozumel, according the Crew-Center.com. After that, the ship is slated to visit MSC’s private island Ocean Cay before returning home to Miami on March 1.
There are already some reports on Twitter that the ship is being denied entry to the Cayman Islands as well, however, we have seen no official statement made at this time. There is no word yet on porting in Cozumel, either.
This latest news shows the risks involved with cruising during the height of the coronavirus scare. While there are no confirmed cases aboard this cruise ship, even the possibility of an outbreak is causing authorities to act with caution.
If you have more questions about sailing on your cruise and the coronavirus (such as if you can cancel), see our article here.
MSC Meraviglia currently sails weeklong trips from the Port of Miami. In April, it is set to reposition to Europe after a Transatlantic crossing. The ship was first put into service in 2017.