Cruise ships have not been allowed to dock in San Juan, Puerto Rico today after being forced by complex requirements.
San Juan Denies Cruise Ships
As the cruise industry comes to a halt and vessels begin heading back to their homeports, authorities in San Juan, Puerto Rico has forced cruise ships to go elsewhere due to complex and strict disembarkation requirements which could last up to four days.
The Carnival Fascination, Freedom fo the Seas, MSC Divina and Norwegian Epic were not allowed to dock after the Port Authorities of Puerto Rico advised that they would be closed to cruise ships due to intense restrictions and requirements.
The Captain of the Carnival Fascination cruise ship sent out a letter to guests on the current 7-day Southern Caribbean cruise out of Barbados. In the letter, it was stated “the government of Puerto Rico has denied the disembarkation of the ship unless all guests completed new health clearance requirements. This process was expected to take up to three or four days. This is despite the fact that we do not have anyone onboard with flu-like illness. Our request to at least disembark Puerto Rican residents was denied.”
The Carnival cruise ship is now heading to Miami, Florida where approval to dock has already been confirmed. The ship will arrive at PortMiami at noon on Tuesday. The cruise line is looking at flight options for guests needing to travel back to Puerto Rico.
Freedom of the Seas which was scheduled to arrive in San Juan today to end its 7-day Caribbean cruise was also dealing with the requirements of the Puerto Rican authorities. As a result, a letter was sent out to guests and in that it was mentioned “the Port Authorities of Puerto Rico has just advised that they will be closed to cruise ships. Please know, no one onboard is ill. However, we must respect each port decision to evaluate cruise ship and guest entry, as every scenario is different.”
The vessel now plans to disembark guests in PortMiami on Tuesday, March 17. Royal Caribbean is providing 1-hour free wifi so that passengers can arrange their travel arrangements.
Norwegian Epic operated by Norwegian Cruise Line was another ship refused entry to dock at the port due to not being able to go through with the requirements from port authorities. the cruise line stated “The safety, security, and well-being of our guests and crew is our number one priority. Various countries are continuously revising their rules, regulations, and requirements for visiting their ports without much advance notice to cruise lines. As a result, we must proceed with changing our itinerary again.”
The NCL cruise ship will now be ending its 7-day cruise in Port Canaveral, Florida on March 17, 2020. The ship was originally scheduled to end the voyage in San Juan today.
MSC Divina operated by MSC Cruises was also scheduled to call in San Juan today but the ship remains anchored off Great Stirrup Caye in the Bahamas. Oceania Sirena also had a scheduled call at the port in the eastern Caribbean.
This comes as cruise ports in the United States will soon be jammed as cruise lines suspend operations due to the coronavirus outbreak spreading around the world.