SEATTLE, Feb. 13, 2020 /CNW/ -- After being denied entry to several countries, Holland America Line's Westerdam is scheduled to begin disembarking guests at the Port of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, the morning of Friday, Feb. 14, 2020, thanks to the efforts of a coalition of governments that came to the aid of the cruise line. President Trump and his State Department and National Security Council teams worked closely with Cambodian officials and were instrumental in Westerdam gaining access to the port.
Out of an abundance of caution, 20 guests and crew who visited the medical center during this cruise were screened for coronavirus. All results came back negative from the Pasteur Laboratory in Phnom Penh and the results were announced by the Cambodian Health Ministry today.
Westerdam departed Hong Kong, China, Feb. 1, 2020, on a 14-day cruise and was originally scheduled to call at ports in the Philippines, Taiwan, Japan and South Korea, but was denied entry following an outbreak of novel coronavirus in mainland China, which quickly spread to other countries. Despite not having any known cases of coronavirus on board, Westerdam was denied entry to several countries to end the cruise and allow guests to return home. Separately, we were not able to call at Manila, the Philippines, on Feb. 3 due to a new policy prohibiting any ship with guests that had passed through China, Macau or Hong Kong in the prior 14 days.
"We extend our deepest gratitude to President Trump, Cambodia's Honorable Prime Minister Hun Sen, Canadian Foreign Minister Champagne, elected officials across the country and governments around the world for providing support and being effective allies in bringing our guests home," said Stein Kruse, Group CEO, Holland America Group and Carnival UK. "We are pleased with the successful resolution of this challenging journey that was complicated by unfounded fears stemming from erroneous information with respect to the medical condition of Westerdam's guests and crew. This has all been a terrible and unfortunate misunderstanding that has impacted 2,257 people on board and hundreds of others shoreside who have worked 24/7 to get our guests home."
Holland America Line also received vital assistance from U.S. embassies in several countries and the line's flag state of The Netherlands in effectively working through diplomatic channels.
"We also would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all of Westerdam's guests, crew and their loved ones for their patience, support and positive attitude during this two-week ordeal," added Kruse. "Our corporate teams around the world who worked tirelessly deserve recognition as well."
Westerdam was carrying 1,455 guests and 802 crew. The cruise was previously scheduled to disembark Feb. 15 at Yokohama, Japan. Guests will now disembark in Sihanoukville over the next few days and transfer via charter flights to Phnom Penh for forward travel home. Holland America Line is arranging and paying for all flights and guests have received a full refund of their cruise fare as well as a 100% future cruise credit.
About Holland America Line [a division of Carnival Corporation and plc (NYSE: CCL and CUK)]
Holland America Line's fleet of 14 ships offers more than 500 cruises to more than 470 ports in 98 countries, territories or dependencies around the world. From shorter getaways to 128-day itineraries, the company's cruises visit all seven continents, with highlights including Antarctica explorations, South America circumnavigations and exotic Australia & New Zealand and Asia voyages; three annual Grand Voyages; and popular sailings to the Caribbean, Alaska, Mexico, Canada & New England, Europe and the Panama Canal. The line welcomed Nieuw Statendam in December 2018. A third Pinnacle-class ship, Ryndam, will be delivered in 2021.
The company's brand evolution in recent years secured its position as the leader in premium cruising. Fleetwide, the ships feature innovative initiatives and a diverse range of enriching experiences focused on destination exploration and personalized travel. Outstanding entertainment fills each evening at venues including Lincoln Center Stage, B.B. King's Blues Club, Rolling Stone Rock Room and Billboard Onboard. The dining experience can be savored at a variety of restaurants with menus that feature selections from Holland America Line's esteemed Culinary Council, comprising world-famous chefs who design dishes exclusively for guests.
SOURCE Holland America Line