Cruise Ships' Long Trips End: 'There Was Nowhere to Go'

3 vessels still with passengers scheduled to finally dock on Monday amid coronavirus crisis
By Jenn Gidman,  Newser Staff
Posted Apr 20, 2020 7:37 AM CDT
Cruise Ships' Long Trips End: 'There Was Nowhere to Go'
The MSC Magnifica cruise ship passes by a tourist boat, foreground, bottom right, in Venice, Italy, on June 2, 2019.   (AP Photo/Luca Bruno)

Believe it or not, there are still three cruise ships filled with passengers on the high seas—but all three are set to finally dock at various ports around the world on Monday, their around-the-globe itineraries thrown into disarray by the coronavirus pandemic. The BBC calls the MSC Magnifica, which departed Genoa, Italy, on Jan. 5, the "last cruise ship on Earth," and it documents the "political storm" the ship endured on its journey. When the ship left Europe in January, most of the 1,760 passengers likely hadn't even heard of the virus, but by mid-March, ports were turning it away. "It was clear that there was basically nowhere to go," says the ship's captain, Roberto Leotta. A few hundred people disembarked in Australia, but the rest opted to stay on board for the long sail back to Marseille, France, where it's scheduled to pull into port Monday. Reportedly, no one on the ship has the virus.

Meanwhile, the Pacific Princess will dock in Los Angeles, after it made a brief stop in Honolulu last week to let four Hawaiians off, per KHON2. A Princess Cruises release notes the ship let Fort Lauderdale, Fla., on Jan. 5 for a 111-day cruise, letting most passengers off in Australia on March 21 once the severity of the virus became known. There are 115 passengers still on board; it's not clear if anyone has the virus. Finally, Seatrade Cruise News reports the Costa Deliziosa, whose last official stop was in Australia in mid-March, will drop off 168 passengers in Barcelona, Spain, before docking in Genoa on Wednesday to let off more than 1,600 others. That ship, which set sail from Venice in early January, is said to be virus-free, per Italian media. "The return home will mean a radical change, a brutal one," one passenger tells the AP. "Fear is what made many passengers want to stay on board." (More cruise ships stories.)

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