Florida Couple Stranded Aboard Holland America Cruise Ship

A couple from Seminole County, Florida, along with thousands of other passengers and crew, is effectively trapped aboard the fated Holland America cruise ship MS Zaandam

ClickOrlando.com reports that Laura Gabaroni and Juan Huergo originally set sail aboard the Zaandam on a 14-day itinerary which was to last from March 7 through March 21 and travel throughout South America.

After passengers aboard the ship began to display flu-like symptoms, Holland America was forced to alter the ship’s itinerary as countries on the ship’s route closed their ports to the vessel. Passengers aboard the Zaandam have not set foot on land since March 14. 

Gabaroni told ClickOrlando.com that the couple is “hopeful things are going to turn around and get better soon,” and added that she knows “the cruise line and the staff here is doing everything they can to make us more comfortable.” 

Gabaroni’s hopes may soon be answered. Holland America has sent another ship, the Rotterdam, to meet the Zaandam off the coast of Panama, with hopes that the Zaandam’s healthy passengers will board the Rotterdam and head home. Even this plan is in doubt after Holland America authorities reported that four people have died aboard the ship, while 138 passengers and crew members are showing flu-like symptoms. Two of the Zaandam’s passengers have tested positive for COVID-19 (coronavirus). 

In the meantime, it appears that Gabaroni and Huergo are doing well. “Healthwise, we both are doing well and we plan to continue that way,” Gabaroni reports.