Citing concerns about minimizing the community spread and exposure to COVID-19, cruise officials have put a temporary stop to any cruise tours in San Diego Bay, port officials said on Friday.
“No ship has or will be allowed in San Diego Bay without first being cleared by medical authorities, and no new sailings have begun or will begin out of San Diego Bay until at least mid-April,” San Diego Port officials said in a news release.
Cruise lines operating ships locally -- including Disney, Regent Seven Seas, and Holland America – announced last week that they were suspending departures for a period of at least 30 days in response to the coronavirus pandemic.
Since those decisions were arrived at, three ships have docked in San Diego, disembarking thousands of cruise passengers and crew members whose contracts were up. One of those remains in San Diego Bay, operated by its remaining crew members but without passengers aboard, the cruise lines told the port.
Last Thursday, the Regent Seven Seas ship Splendor arrived at the B Street pier, moving to National City and docking at the city’s marine terminal, where it will remain through April 11.
Officials said the Eurodam, operated by the Holland America Line, docked in San Diego’s B Street cruise terminal on Wednesday, with all its passengers departing that same day. Disney’s Wonder arrived at the B Street pier the following day, with passengers disembarking both Thursday and Friday. Officials said the ship would remain in San Diego through April 19.
One additional ship, the Celebrity Eclipse, is scheduled to arrive in San Diego on March 27, according to the port.
Barring any complications -- such as if a passenger on board were to exhibit symptoms of any communicable diseases, including coronavirus -- passengers of the Eclipse and crew members with expiring contracts would be cleared to leave the ship the day of its arrival on March 28, with the ship slated to depart on March 30.
Port officials said the B Street terminal is being cleaned and disinfected before and after the arrival of each ship. They also stated that “all cruise travelers have been advised to go home and self-quarantine for 14 days, practice social distancing and monitor their health,” per CDC guidelines.
The Disney Wonder 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. To minimize passenger exposure to the coronavirus, however, she 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, Dr. Eric McDonald, Medical Director with the County Epidemiology and Immunization Branch, told NBC 7.