Coronavirus cruise ship crisis with five liners stricken by outbreak fears

Thousands of holidaymakers were expecting to enjoy the trip of a lifetime as they embarked on luxury cruise liners around the world.

But their breaks have turned into a nightmare as the coronavirus swept across the world, with tens of thousands diagnosed with the deadly condition across the world.

And cruise ships, which docked at multiple ports and where guests mingle in close proximity, proved to be prime breeding grounds for the disease.

Tragically an 80-year-old Brit became the sixth person on board the Diamond Princess, which was quarantined off the Japanese port of Yokohama.

He was the first Briton to be killed by the virus, which has since claimed two lives on the UK mainland.

Here are some of the other vessels which have been placed in quarantine in recent days.

Are you on board any of the affected ships? Email [email protected]

The Regal Princess


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This cruise ship was supposed to dock at Port Everglades in Florida yesterday, but is still at sea while tests are carried out on two crew members.

The workers had previously been on the Grand Princess cruise ship, where 21 people previously tested positive for coronavirus.

Passengers and crew were woken by an announcement that federal health authorities would be testing the pair.

Self-service water stations are no longer available and passengers can no longer help themselves to food on the buffet, but life onboard remains otherwise normal, the Miami Herald reports .

Neither of the workers have shown any signs of the conditions.

The Grand Princess

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Also stranded is the Grand Princess, which has more than 3,500 people onboard, off the coast of San Francisco.

Twenty one people people have tested positive for coronavirus.

Passengers were told to return to their cabins on Thursday lunchtime where they've remained since.

The ship is carrying 3,533 people, including 142 Britons – 121 passengers and 21 crew – and has advised all guests to stay in their rooms until disembarkment.



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The vessel had been due to dock on Saturday but was denied entry by Governor Gavin Newsom.

US President Donald Trump said he would rather passengers stayed onboard, saying: "I don't need to have the numbers double because of one ship that wasn't our fault."

Patrick and Kim Maguire, from Gwent, Wales, are among the Brits confined to their cabins.

Patrick, 56, told Wales Online: "It's a little frustrating because there's no plan.

"That's no fault of Princess Cruises, the captain and crew have been amazing."

According to reports in the US it will finally be allowed to dock in Oakland on Monday.

MSC Lirica

Another vessel where passengers are enduring misery is the MSC Lirica, with an estimated 1,400 people onboard.

It was due to dock at Mangaluru in southwestern India on Saturday morning, but officials refused to grant access.

It had left Dubai on February 29, and ported at Abu Dhabi and Khor Fakkan in the United Arab Emirates, as well as Muscat and Oman.

Although there are not believed to be any confirmed cases, authorities were anxious that many of the international travellers had been in hotspots around the world.

An official from the New Mangalore Port Trust told the News Minute : “We have all the equipment for screening, detection and quarantine system in place.

"However, following the decision taken by the Ministry of Shipping on March 5 to stop the disembarkation of the crew or passenger having travel history from the infected countries, we have not allowed the Cruise ship to dock at the port."

MSC Opera

The Swiss-owned vessel with 2,302 passengers on crew onboard was forced to divert to Messina in Italy after being turned away from Malta.

The cruise ship was reportedly denied amid concerns it would cause "unnecessary public unrest".

Doctors went as far as threatening to take industrial action if it was allowed to dock.

Passengers were allowed off the vessel after undergoing medical tests.

A letter given to guests from Captain Pietro Esposito said: ''I have just learned – and I wanted you to know straightaway – that we have been contacted by the Austrian Health Authorities who have informed us that a previous passenger who sailed with us last week on MSC Opera, has been diagnosed with COVID-19.'

''The male passenger, of Austrian nationality, disembarked from MSC Opera in Genoa, Italy, on Friday morning 28 February, and is currently back in Austria.

Passenger Mike Knotts and his wife Charysse told Mirror.co.uk that their tour of the Acropolis of Athens was suddenly cut short.

Mike said: ''We were told that there was a security problem and we had to return to the ship.

''When we got back the captain made an announcement and we were given letters.

''There was lots of drama at the front desk with one man yelling.

'We're now on our way to Corfu but we don't even now if we will be able to get off the ship.''

River Nile cruise

Egyptian authorities confirmed yesterday that 45 people onboard a River Nile cruise ship had been diagnosed with coronavirus.

It was towed to a safe spot close to the city of Luxor and placed in quarantine.

There are 171 people onboard, of which 101 are passengers, and 19 of the confirmed cases are foreign nationals.

A Taiwanese-American woman who had previously been on the ship tested positive when she returned to Taiwan, prompting health authorities to carry out checks on everyone onboard.

None of them had shown symptoms before being confirmed to have it, the World Health Organisation said.

The nationalities of those affected are not all known, but Americans and French tourists are said to be among them.

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