Passengers from the Regal Princess cruise ship are finally headed home after an unexpected extra day at sea.
“We were leery,” said Bettye LeFebvre about learning the news. “But we got to stay in our staterooms, and in the whole area and we had complimentary meals and entertainment.”
LeFebvre and the rest of the ship’s passengers stayed offshore while two crew members were tested for coronavirus after the members were previously on the Grand Princess, a ship that had over 20 cases of the virus confirmed and remains docked off the coast of California.
“They were not symptomatic,” LeFebvre said of the crew members.
Passengers got the news from a 5:30 am wake up call from the captain yesterday morning. The Regal Princess was originally supposed to arrive at Port Everglades Sunday morning, but was not permitted to dock until late Sunday night.
Passengers say the cruise line covered hotel rooms and helped arrange for new flights home. This as the US State Department and Centers for Disease Control warned Americans against taking a cruise because of the coronavirus threat.
“I would not take one right now,” said LeFabvre.
The news comes days after a press conference at Port Everglades where Vice President Mike Pence was joined by Florida Senators Rick Scott and Marco Rubio, vowing to work with cruise executives on addressing the spread of the virus on ships.
During the meeting, Pence said the message was clear regarding the outbreak: operate with cautious concern.
"The risk of contacting the coronavirus to the average American remains low," Pence said before emphasizing the risk to seniors in the state with medical issues, viewed as the most at risk of having serious issues caused by the virus.