[Updated] The Anthem of the Seas cruise ship is expected to arrive in Bermuda, and the Health Ministry said “Bermuda will apply the necessary protocols upon arrival,” and the cruise line said they will deny boarding to any guest who has traveled through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau in the past 15 days, as well as to all holders of China, Hong Kong and Macau passports.
The Premier noted that “there was a false alarm on the ship, someone on the previous sailing had the flu,” and Royal Caribbean confirmed to the Government that the “ship has been cleared by the US CDC as there were no cases of coronavirus on board the ship on its previous sailing.”
Bermuda Health Ministry Statement
A spokesperson said, “The Ministry of Health and local port authorities are aware of the Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas’ expected arrival to Bermuda.
“The Ministry can confirm that several passengers were tested for coronavirus and cleared in New Jersey prior to departure,” the spokesperson added, referring to passengers on a previous sailing.
“Bermuda will apply the necessary protocols upon arrival.
“Residents should be assured that health and port authorities are prepared and equipped to deal with the vessel in accordance with our established protocols. Royal Caribbean has enacted their own stringent protocols with regards to the screening of passengers prior to boarding.”
Royal Caribbean Statement
In their 9am update today [Feb 9], the Royal Caribbean website said, “After finding out late last night from the New Jersey Health Authority that they received the test results from the CDC, and that they were negative for the novel coronavirus, we’ve been scrambling overnight to see how we can make your vacation a little more enjoyable.
“And, good news, our Guest Port Services Team confirmed that your boarding can begin today if you’d like to join us. We will still sail on Monday, but if you can join us today, we look forward to welcoming you onboard.
“You may be wondering why our itinerary changed from a Bahamas cruise to a Bermuda cruise. With a Monday afternoon departure, we wouldn’t arrive into Nassau until around 3:00 PM and would need to depart later that evening to make our way back to Cape Liberty – not a great experience.
“Given that our goal is to provide you with the best vacation possible, we made the decision to sail to Bermuda, where you’ll have more than a day and a half in port to explore. Plus, the weather forecast is looking favorable in Bermuda during our visit.
“We know how much you were looking forward to beginning your vacation, and we cannot apologize enough for the impact this situation has caused.
“We have been working with medical experts, public health authorities, and local governments, and in alignment with new stricter CDC protocols, we are tightening our measures to protect guests and crew. These steps are intentionally conservative, and we apologize that they will inconvenience some of our guests.
“Until further notice, all ships in the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. fleet will adopt these health screening protocols:
1. Regardless of nationality, we will deny boarding to:
- a. Any guest who has traveled from, to or through mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau in the past 15 days.
- b. Any guest who has come in contact with anyone from mainland China, Hong Kong or Macau in the past 15 days. The CDC characterizes contact with an individual as coming within six feet (2M) of a person.
- c. All holders of China, Hong Kong and Macau passports.
2. There will be mandatory specialized health screenings performed on:
- a. Guests who are uncertain about contact with individuals who have traveled from, to or through mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau in the past 15 days.
- b. Guests who report feeling unwell or demonstrate any flu-like symptoms.
- c. Guests presenting with fever or low blood oximetry in the specialized health screenings will be denied boarding.
“All guests who are denied boarding due to these restrictions will receive full refunds.”
According to RCI, the ship will arrive on Wednesday.
Update 11.50am: The Premier has tweeted, he noted that, “Royal Caribbean have confirmed to the BDA Gov that the ship has been cleared by the US CDC as there were no cases of Coronavirus on board the ship on its previous sailing. If there were confirmed cases the ship would not be cleared due to risk of the virus spreading.”
Update 12.16pm: After we posted the screenshot below, the Premier tweeted again, saying: “Often people overreact before facts are checked. The Gov will not allow anything to put its people in danger and I won’t let my family be endangered. There was a false alarm on the ship, someone on the previous sailing had the flu. It has been cleared CV free by the US CDC.”
The Premier’s Twitter thread:
Update 3.15pm: Bermuda Tourism Authority CEO Kevin Dallas said, “Bermuda benefits from the Anthem’s change of plans, as the ship’s delayed departure from New Jersey—after crew and passengers were cleared by the US Centers for Disease Control—has prompted the cruise line to switch ports and choose the Royal Naval Dockyard for its stopover this week.”
“We welcome Anthem passengers and assure them Bermuda offers a fantastic alternative to their previous itinerary. We also encourage cruise business stakeholders to take advantage of this additional winter ship call to extend their excursions and services.”
Update 3.30pm: A Government spokesperson said, “Further to an earlier statement, the Ministry of Health and local port authorities are aware of the Royal Caribbean’s Anthem of the Seas’ expected arrival to Bermuda on Wednesday.
“The Ministry is aware that, following testing, the New Jersey Health Authority and the United States Centers For Disease Control confirmed the results were negative for the novel coronavirus and cleared four passengers aboard the Anthem of The Seas from a previous sailing.
“Clearance by US health authorities confirms there are no suspected cases of Coronavirus aboard the Anthem of The Seas.
“To further ensure the safety of Bermuda, health and port authorities will apply our own protocols currently in place at all of Bermuda’s points of entry. This work includes close collaboration with the Department of Customs, Immigration, and Skyport to enhance screening of arriving travellers and direct those with a travel history risk for further monitoring and assessment. Arriving travellers will undergo a travel risk assessment by a Health Officer and could have their health monitored and movement on island restricted for up to 14 days.
“Furthermore, the Bermuda Government has put a restriction on direct flights from China which applies to private/corporate aircrafts. Any visitors that have spent any time in mainland China in the last 14 days are discouraged from traveling to Bermuda and will be subject to risk assessment and an necessary monitoring and restrictions.
“To further reiterate, The Ministry can confirm that no passengers or crew on the Anthem of the Seas are suspected of having the Coronavirus.”