The latest saga involving cruise ships and coronavirus is occurring right now as the Holland America ships MS Zaandam and MS Rotterdam head toward Florida. Together, the ships are carrying over two thousand passengers and crew and are currently set to head toward the United States from the coast of Panama.
Many Florida residents, including leading politicians, are concerned about Holland America’s plan to dock the ships at Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. Just days ago the Zaandam was carrying well over a hundred sick passengers and crew members, and the bodies of four passengers who died aboard the vessel during its extended voyage. Authorities kept those sick and deceased people aboard the Zaandam, and transferred the healthy passengers to the Rotterdam, allowing the healthy passengers to continue on toward Florida on a clean ship.
Florida’s governor, Ron DeSantis, has expressed his displeasure with the plan for his state to accept the passengers. WFLA.com reports that DeSantis said “We’ve talked to the Coast Guard, the Coast Guard, I don’t think wants them to come in. We’ve talked to the White House about it, and we don’t want it to come in.”
Florida senator Rick Scott expressed caution but did not state explicit disapproval with the planned reception of the ships’ passengers. “This situation is absolutely horrific, and your heart goes out to all of those on board. We need to make sure everyone on this ship is cared for without spreading the virus further, and that we are doing everything we can to protect Floridians,” Scott said. He added that if the ships dock at Florida their passengers may have to undergo 14 days’ quarantine.