A Disney Cruise ship pulled into the Port of San Diego Thursday morning with no passengers showing symptoms of COVID-19, county officials confirmed.
The Disney Wonder pulled into the Port of San Diego at around 6:15 a.m. It left New Orleans on March 6 on what was supposed to be a 14-night Panama Canal Cruise with several stops in Mexico, Cayman Islands, and Colombia.
However, to minimize passenger exposure to the coronavirus, Disney Wonder skipped several port visits. That decision came after Cruise Lines International Association asked U.S. cruise ships to suspend cruises for 30 days as of March 14, voluntarily.
None of the 1,980 passengers or crew, with the exception of one crew member who had influenza, showed COVID-19 symptoms, said Dr. Eric McDonald, Medical Director with the County Epidemiology and Immunization Branch.
If any of the passengers did begin to show symptoms, the crew was required to notify the U.S. Coast Guard and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
“The local CDC quarantine station has the lead in determining if it’s safe for individuals to disembark from any cruise ship that has been in international waters,” McDonald said.
The Port of San Diego did install handwashing stations for the passengers when they disembarked the ship and were given hand sanitizers.
NBC 7 FaceTimed a couple from Washington State that was onboard the cruise ship and they said the crew did a great job in cleaning and changing specific procedures like buffets and self-serve.
“Buffets had transitioned to service lines. We’re not getting our food, we’re not touching the drink fountains, and we’re not getting ice cream out of the machines. Things that guests usually have direct access to, that’s now a staff member,” said Nathan Novak, a passenger on Disney Wonder.
It is now recommended by the CDC for all cruise ship passengers throughout the country to self-quarantine after disembarking from a ship, McDonald said.
The passengers aboard the Disney Wonder were able to disembark at noon on Thursday, but because the ship did arrive a day early, they are allowed to stay until Friday.
On Wednesday, Holland America Line MS Eurodam disembarked with 1,839 passengers and 61 crew members at the Port of San Diego. None showed symptoms for COVID-19 and were given the OK to go home, McDonald said.