The Japanese Government will not permit Holland America Line’s Westerdam to call in Japanese ports, according to a statement from the cruise line. The ship had been scheduled to call to Ishigaki Island, Naha, Okinawa, Nagasaki and Fukuoka (Hakata), before its scheduled turn in Yokohama on February 15, where the next cruise was scheduled to embark. The ship is not in quarantine and there are no known cases of coronavirus on board at this time, the cruise line said.
“We are quickly working to develop alternate plans and are keeping guests updated on board as information becomes available,” the cruise line said in a written statement.
The ship’s next cruise, which was scheduled to embark in Yokohama on February 15, has been cancelled. Holland America said it will notify booked guests and their travel advisors.
Westerdam’s February 15 turnaround had been initially scheduled for Shanghai, China. Earlier this week the cruise line had announced plans to shift the ship’s turn to Yokohama, as well as to replace all calls in China that had been planned through March 28 to calls in Japan due to the ongoing coronavirus outbreak. Cruises after March 28 had not been planned with calls in China originally.
The Westerdam is currently on a 14-day Taiwan & Japan cruise that departed Hong Kong on February 1. There are 1,455 guests and 802 crew on board, of which 687 guests were continuing on the February 1 sailing from the previous voyage.
Like other CLIA-member lines, Holland America has implemented a number of screening procedures to protect against the coronavirus. Guests who have traveled from or through mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau, or had contact with a suspected or confirmed case of the virus or a person who is under monitoring for it in the last 14 days prior to sailing are not permitted to board. The line is also carrying out pre-boarding medical evaluations for those exhibiting respiratory symptoms or a fever, and it is screening guests who visit the onboard medical center with symptoms of any respiratory illness for the virus. The cruise line is also carrying out additional onboard environmental disinfection in addition to regular sanitation protocols.
A cruise ship from another line, Princess Cruises’ Diamond Princess, is currently under a quarantine in Yokohama that is due to last at least two weeks after a guest from Hong Kong tested positive for the coronavirus after disembarking there. Thus far 20 additional coronavirus cases have been identified onboard, and those affected have been disembarked and transported to local hospitals. The other 2,666 guests and 1,045 crew are remaining onboard for the duration of the quarantine, with complimentary Internet and phone service provided for the duration.
There are currently over 24,500 cases of the coronavirus diagnosed in 25 countries worldwide, according to the latest numbers from the World Health Organization. There have been 492 deaths from the disease thus far, all except one in China.