After being denied entry to several countries, Holland America Line’s Westerdam began disembarking guests at the Port of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, Friday morning. Holland America credits the efforts of a coalition of governments that came to the aid of the cruise line, noting President Donald Trump, the State Department and National Security Council teams worked closely with Cambodian officials and were instrumental in Westerdam gaining access to the port.
To be cautious, 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 on Thursday.
Westerdam departed Hong Kong, February 1 for 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 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, Westerdam was not able to call at Manila on February 3 due to a new policy prohibiting any ship with guests that had passed through China, Hong Kong or Macau in the prior 14 days.
Westerdam was carrying 1,455 guests and 802 crew. The cruise was previously scheduled to disembark February 15 at Yokohama, Japan. Guests are now disembarking 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 percent future cruise credit.