While many major cruise operators are idling their fleets in response to the coronavirus pandemic, some ships are still at sea or trying to find a port as they deal with fears that some passengers or crew may have become infected with COVID-19.
Some have passengers aboard who either tested positive for COVID-19 or have coronavirus-related symptoms. Other ships that have no reported cases are finding some countries closing access to ports out of fear they may harbor undiagnosed cases aboard.
As of Monday night, 97% of Cruise Line International Association member lines had announced a partial or full suspension of operations worldwide. However, many ships that were at sea at the time of the announcement are still trying to get back to shore.
Those members are now focused on getting passengers home, Bari Golin-Blaugrund, senior director of strategic communications for CLIA, told USA TODAY
"This is a fluid situation, and restrictions on air travel as well as port closures has created logistical challenges that the industry is working through," Golin-Blaugrund said. "The United States government has provided assurances that U.S. ports will remain open to returning cruise ships and allow for the disembarkation of passengers and crew, regardless of citizenship, so that they may return to their homes both in the U.S. and abroad."
Here's the latest on some of those ships:
The saga of Fred. Olsen Cruises' Braemar, which has been turned away from the Dominican Republic and Bahamas and is now anchored off the coast of Havana, Cuba, appears to be headed toward resolution.
Three chartered British Airways flights will depart Havana's Jose Marti Airport on Wednesday evening and arrive at London's Heathrow Airport the following morning, local time, the company said Wednesday. Most of the 682 passengers aboard the Braemar are British citizens.
Passengers who are in isolation with flu-like symptoms, including two who tested positive for the coronavirus, will be taken back to the United Kingdom on a separate flight, along with their companions, the company said. They will be required to self-isolate for 14 days upon return.
Any passengers who are not well enough to fly will receive medical treatment in Cuba, the company said.
"We have been working closely with the Foreign and Commonwealth Office to arrange flights and onward travel. All guests who are deemed fit to travel will be flown back to the U.K., with flights to depart from Cuba from Wednesday evening local time," the line said in a release provided by spokesperson Ellis Barker.
Once the evacuation flights arrive, the Braemar will dock at the port of Havana for disembarkation.
According to Fred. Olsen, 55 people (28 guests and 27 crew members) are in isolation after showing flu-like symptoms. That count includes an onboard doctor and five people who tested positive for coronavirus at the Braemar's last port of call, Willemstad, Curaçao, on March 10. Anyone not well enough to fly will receive medical attention in Cuba.
Prior to its arrival in Cuban waters, the Bahamian government provided humanitarian assistance over the weekend but wouldn't let passengers set foot in any of the island nation's ports. At that point, one passenger and four crew members had tested positive for the coronavirus.
The Celebrity Summit was sailing toward Port Everglades Tuesday to conclude its itinerary and help passengers arrange travel home.
Along with other ships, it was turned away following the "arbitrary" closing of the port in San Juan, Puerto Rico over the weekend, Celebrity Cruises said in a statement on its site.
The line says there were "no issues of medical concern" for anyone aboard, but the ship was still turned away despite having clearances from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and the Coast Guard.
Celebrity said Sunday it was scrambling to try to bring passengers home from the Celebrity Eclipse after the port in San Antonio, Chile, closed to all cruise ships.
As of Tuesday morning, Chilean authorities gave the ship permission to refuel and restock in Valparaiso, according to an update issued by Celebrity Cruises. After it does, the Eclipse will sail to San Diego, where it is scheduled to arrive later this month.
Two passengers aboard the Silver Shadow were "medically disembarked" in Recife, Brazil, said Silversea's parent company, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines. One tested positive for COVID-19 while the other tested negative.
Several passengers aboard the Silver Explorer, another Silversea ship, have been medically disembarked in Tortel and Castro, Chile, and have since tested positive for COVID-19, Royal Caribbean said.
Princess Cruises, which is owned by Carnival Cruise Line, confirmed in a release overnight Tuesday that more than half of its 1,113 crew members had left the Grand Princess.
After the cruise line completed the disembarkation of all passengers, the ship moved from Oakland, California, across to the bay to San Francisco. The crew members are gradually being allowed to leave the ship as they finish their quarantine periods.
Nearly 2,000 American passengers from the Grand Princess have been sent to four military bases around the country, including Travis Air Force Base and Naval Air Station Miramar in California, Joint Base San Antonio-Lackland, Texas, and Dobbins Air Reserve Base, Georgia, according to a release from the Department of Health and Human Services. Several states have since brought their residents home to finish their 14-day quarantines.
The Grand Princess had 21 coronavirus cases aboard – two passengers and 19 crew – by the time it docked, having idled for days off San Francisco Bay waiting for permission to come in. Another Princess ship, Diamond Princess, had at least 700 cases after the ship was placed under quarantine off the coast of Japan in February.
Costa Cruises' Costa Luminosa was denied permission to disembark its more than 1,400 passengers in Spain after the government locked down that country over the weekend, closing its ports to passenger traffic. Passengers are currently isolated in their rooms.
The company, owned by Carnival Corp., said that three Costa Luminosa passengers who were removed from the ship in the Cayman Islands and Puerto Rico have tested positive for COVID-19, including a 68-year-old man who died last weekend. On Monday, two passengers who had problems breathing and one who had a fever were taken off the boat and to the hospital when it stopped for provisions in the Canary Islands, off the Spanish coast.
The cruise ship-tracking site CruiseMapper.com shows the Costa Luminosa en route from southern Spain to its next port in Marseille, France. However, after French president Emmanuel Macron placed his country under lockdown effective Tuesday, it is not clear whether the ship will be allowed in.
Passengers are self-isolating themselves aboard the Ocean Endeavour, an Antarctic cruise ship operated by Quark Expeditions, off the southern tip of Argentina. Quark says no one aboard is showing symptoms of COVID-19, but Argentine officials would not let passengers disembark until they had been at sea for two weeks, which is thought to be the virus' incubation period.
The Norwegian Jewel
The Norwegian Jewel has been turned away by Fiji and New Zealand, the cruise line said, and is now trying to to find a south Asian country that will let it dock. The ship, which can accommodate about 2,000 passengers, recently stopped for fuel in American Samoa.
Royal Caribbean Cruises’ Freedom of the Seas and Carnival Fascination
The two ships were denied permission to return to their home ports in San Juan, Puerto Rico, Royal Caribbean and Carnival said Monday. .
The Carnival Fascination arrived in Miami on Tuesday and all passengers disembarked "with no issues," Carnival spokesman Vance Gulliksen told USA TODAY early Wednesday. The Freedom of the Seas also docked in Miami and disembarked passengers Tuesday, Royal Caribbean spokesman Jonathon Fishman confirmed to USA TODAY.
Carnival said the government of Puerto Rico even denied a request to let Puerto Rican residents disembark “despite the fact that no one has any influenza-like illness.”
Contributing: The Associated Press; David Oliver, Curtis Tate, USA TODAY