A Holland America Line cruise ship will finally be allowed to dock in Cambodia to disembark passengers after the cruise ship was rejected by several ports due to Coronavirus fears, even though there were no reported cases. The cruise line thanked the Trump Administration in being instrumental in coordinating with the Cambodian government to enable the cruise ship to access Port of Sihanoukville to disembark guests.
Westerdam departed Hong Kong, China, February 1, 2020, on a 14-day cruise and was originally scheduled to call at ports in the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, but was denied entry following an outbreak of novel coronavirus in mainland China, which quickly spread to other countries.
Despite not having any known cases of coronavirus on board, Westerdam was denied entry to several countries to end the cruise and allow guests to return home. Separately, they were not able to call at Manila, the Philippines, on February 3 due to a new policy prohibiting any cruise ship with guests that had passed through China, Macau or Hong Kong in the prior 14 days.
Holland America Line also received vital assistance from U.S. embassies in several countries and the cruise line’s flag state of The Netherlands in effectively working through diplomatic channels.
Stein Kruse, Group CEO, Holland America Group and Carnival UK, gave the following statement: “We extend our deepest gratitude to President Trump, Cambodia’s Honorable Prime Minister Hun Sen, Canadian Foreign Minister Champagne, elected officials across the country and governments around the world for providing support and being effective allies in bringing our guests home.
We are pleased with the successful resolution of this challenging journey that was complicated by unfounded fears stemming from erroneous information with respect to the medical condition of Westerdam’s guests and crew. This has all been a terrible and unfortunate misunderstanding that has impacted 2,257 people on board and hundreds of others shoreside who have worked 24/7 to get our guests home.”
Westerdam was carrying 1,455 guests and 802 crew. The cruise was previously scheduled to disembark Feb. 15 at Yokohama, Japan. Guests will now disembark in Sihanoukville over the next few days and transfer via charter flights to Phnom Penh for forward travel home.
Holland America Line is arranging and paying for all flights and guests have received a full refund of their cruise fare as well as a 100% future cruise credit.