Two Holland America Line cruise ships carrying nearly 2,700 passengers and crew - including 248 Canadians – are sailing toward Florida after being stranded off the coast of Panama following the deaths of four passengers with flu-like symptoms.
The Canadian Press reported that the MS Zaandam and MS Rotterdam passed through the Panama Canal today. The MS Zaandam had been anchored on the west side of the canal after reporting four people on board had died nearly 200 passengers and crew were exhibiting flu-like symptoms.
Holland America says several people on the ship have since tested positive for COVID-19. While Holland America said it still does not have a port of destination, it usually docks in Fort Lauderdale.
Sailings on hold
Holland America Line announced today that it would further pause its global cruise operations for an additional 30 days, cancelling sailings scheduled to depart through May 14, 2020.
Guests currently booked on cruises from April 14 through May 14 and their travel advisors will receive notification from Holland America Line in the coming days regarding options for selecting either a Future Cruise Credit for 125 per cent of their booking value plus an additional $250 shipboard credit or a full refund.
"As the world addresses global health concerns, travel has come to a temporary standstill as communities take necessary precautions to protect themselves," said Orlando Ashford, president of Holland America Line. "All of us at Holland America Line are wishing everyone the best during this unprecedented time."
All bookings will automatically be cancelled through May 14. Guests do not need to call to cancel, however, they may visit hollandamerica.com to indicate their preference for a 125 per cent Future Cruise Credit with the bonus $250 shipboard credit or 100 per cent refund. Holland America Line will reimburse cancellation fees for air and other arrangements for travel to and from the cancelled cruise (this does not apply to chartered sailings).
Holland America Line kindly requests that all those booked on cruises from April 14 through May 14 do not call reservations for assistance as hold times are expected to be very long, and their booking will automatically be cancelled over the coming week.
Holland America Line will also protect travel advisor commissions on bookings for cancelled cruises that were paid in full and for the total amount of the Future Cruise Credits when guests rebook.
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