SAN DIEGO — A cruise ship left on another trip Sunday after dropping off passengers who missed one stop in Mexico because of a COVID-19 outbreak among crew members.
Passengers disembarked their Holland America cruise in San Diego around 6 a.m. and the ship departed on another seven-day cruise around 4 p.m. According to VesselFinder, the ship was on its way to Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
Reached by email Sunday, Holland America again declined to provide a specific number of staff members who had tested positive on the vessel. They have referred publicly to the outbreak as “small,” while The Daily Mail and other outlets have reported the number of sick crew members is upwards of 20. Officials said the employees were quarantined as soon as it was apparent they had the virus.
Holland America said that there were no confirmed coronavirus cases among the passengers on the Koningsdam, the cruise line’s largest vessel. All guests ages 5 and up were required to show proof of vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test before boarding. Only those required to do so for international travel were provided testing on the way out.
“The important thing is these crew cases … are mild or asymptomatic,” wrote Erik Elvejord, Holland America’s director of public relations. “Our crew are vaccinated and many have already received a booster.”
FOX 5 was on hand in May when Koningsdam workers were among those vaccinated by Sharp HealthCare at an event hosted at the port. Elvejord said Sunday that the cruise line operates under the protocols of the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order.
“With the pervasive nature of the Omicron variant, we have continued to evolve our protocols, which were developed with guidance from leading health experts and in anticipation of situations like this,” Elvejord told FOX 5. More on Holland America’s COVID policies is available on their website.
The ship was always scheduled to arrive back in San Diego Sunday, but its passengers missed out on their stop in Puerto Vallarta, where Mexican health protocols dictated no one could leave the ship once any positive cases had been registered.
Vacationers could be seen walking down the gangway and toward the parking lot or other transportation options on a rainy morning Sunday. Some wore masks, which were required in certain indoor areas on the vessel.
Corona resident Rosemary Capuano described what she and others heard after learning they couldn’t get off the ship in Puerto Vallarta.
“We were refused entry, and later on we found out we had 21 cases of COVID on the ship, with the crew,” she told a photographer with OnScene.TV. “They’re not really giving us a lot of information of what happened.”
“They sent us a letter to all the passengers saying that they had a mild case of COVID and it was isolated and basically we had nothing to worry about,” Capuano added. “They offered us $50 extra to spend on ship and basically said, ‘Keep your mask on, enjoy the rest of your cruise.'”
FOX 5’s Domenick Candelieri contributed to this story.