Holland America Line said it awaiting confirmation to disembark guests from Zaandam and Rotterdam in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, while the state’s governor, Ron DeSantis, said he was open to taking Florida residents only.
There are currently 311 Americans aboard the two ships and 52 Florida residents, plus four children under the age of 12.
A decision is expected to made Thursday, according to officials.
“We remain fully engaged with the Broward Unified Command and other governmental and embassy authorities to resolve this humanitarian situation and get the nearly 1,200 well guests home immediately who are fit for travel per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both ships are scheduled to arrive at the boundary of U.S. waters by early tomorrow morning and will remain outside U.S. waters while awaiting clearance to enter,” Holland America said, in a statement.
The company said that guests fit for travel per the CDC would transfer straight from the ship to flights for onward travel home, the majority on charter flights. Out of an abundance of caution, these guests will be transported in coaches that will be sanitized, with limited person-to-person contact and while wearing masks.
Guests have not left the ship since March 14 and have self-isolated in their staterooms since March 22.
The approximately 45 guests who still have mild illness and are unfit to travel at this time will continue to isolate onboard until recovered, Holland America has said.
Disembarkation would be at a later date to be determined and only after they have recovered and are in alignment with CDC guidelines for being fit to travel.
For the estimated less than ten people who need immediate critical care shoreside, Holland America said it has secured approval from a local health system partner that they will accept them for treatment. This small number is the only group that will require any support from medical resources in Broward County and is necessary to prevent further harm to their health.
Since March 22, 97 guests (83 on Zaandam/14 on Rotterdam) and 136 crew on Zaandam (0 on Rotterdam) have presented with influenza-like symptoms.
“We have seen a significant decline in the presentation of new cases on Zaandam, with only 1 new case reporting in the past 24 hours,” the company said.
There are 808 guests and 583 crew on Rotterdam. On Zaandam there are 442 guests and 603 crew.