Count your blessings if you are not currently on a cruise ship. All hell is breaking loose on major vessels from New Jersey to Japan:
- Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas just docked in Bayonne, New Jersey, met by ambulances that took four ill patients into hospital isolation for evaluation (none currently confirmed for coronavirus). Twenty-three passengers were screened and released.
- Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess, anchored off of Yokohama, Japan, has now confirmed 61 coronavirus cases, at least 11 of them Americans. Over 2,600 passengers have been quarantined in their rooms for days. Some of the over 400 American passengers on board are talking to reporters and trying to arrange evacuation with the U.S. authorities.
- Dream Cruises’ World Dream ship has been quarantined for days near Hong Kong, following confirmed coronavirus cases of former passengers who exited the ship nearly two weeks ago, and reports of respiratory illness among some crew members.
- Holland America’s Westerdam has been denied docking by the Philippines, Taiwan, Guam, and Japan, despite none of the 2,000-plus people on board being currently suspected of coronavirus.
- The Twittersphere is flustered: @RoyalCaribbean’s slogan, “We cruise and we tweet,” can add “and respond to totally panicked customers” to its tagline.
Of all the unfortunate cruise ship scenarios, Diamond Princess may be in the worst situation: It is now the second biggest coronavirus nexus outside of China, with more passengers sure to test positive in the coming days.
If the issue drags on, it does not bode well for the cruise industry. Shares of Royal Caribbean Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Carnival Corp. were all down about 3-4% in early trading on Friday.
This story is developing and details may change.