Coral Princess cruise ship with 12 COVID-19 cases on board hopes to dock in Florida

The Coral Princess cruise ship with 12 COVID-19 cases on board plans to dock at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Saturday. But according to Broward County Mayor Dale Holness, there is not yet a plan in place for the ship’s arrival to Port Everglades

Princess Cruises, owned by Carnival Corporation, said in a statement Thursday that seven passengers and five crew members tested positive after the ship dropped off samples in Barbados on March 31. The ship has been sailing toward Florida since Argentina permitted only Argentine citizens to disembark in Buenos Aires on March 19.

There are 1,898 people on the ship, including 1,020 passengers and 878 crew. Passengers have been confined to their rooms since Tuesday when the company noticed a higher than normal number of flu-like cases on board.

As the Holland American ships Zaandam and Rotterdam arrived in Port Everglades Thursday afternoon, Holness said there is not yet a finalized plan for the Coral Princess. “At this point in time we don’t have all the details on the Coral Princess, so it wouldn’t be good for me to discuss something that we are not sure of as to what the conditions are and who is on board,” he said at a press conference.

Holland America Line is also owned by Miami-based Carnival Corporation.

On March 12, Princess Cruises canceled all new cruises for 60 days after two of its cruise ships experienced significant outbreaks. At least 712 people were infected on the Diamond Princess in Japan, and at least eight have died. At least 103 people on the Grand Princess in California were infected and at least one person has died.

Since then, the Ruby Princess has become the source of around 10 percent of Australia’s COVID-19 cases, The Guardian reported, with at least 440 infected and at least five deaths.

The Coral Princess’s planned arrival in Port Everglades Saturday follows the arrival of two other cruise ships Thursday with sick people on board, the Zaandam and the Rotterdam.

Governor Ron DeSantis alluded to the Coral Princess during an interview on Fox News Wednesday. Originally DeSantis opposed allowing the Zaandam and Rotterdam to dock in Florida, but changed his mind after learning there were more than 300 U.S. citizens, more than 50 of them Florida residents, on the ships.

“We’ve seen these cruise ships be big problems with this virus, and I know they’re not sailing any new ones, but this is going to continue to be a problem and so we want to make sure people are safe both on those ships but particularly on shore in places like the state of Florida,” DeSantis said.