First Holland America cruise ship passengers begin to disembark in Cambodia

It’s been an emotional ride for guests on board Holland America MS WESTERDAM. But now, aimless vessels will expire: Passengers began to fall on Friday morning at the port of Sihanoukville, Cambodia, rotate them the result of the fear about coronavirus.

“The first passenger was from WESTERDAM and headed home!” The US Embassy in Cambodia tweeted Friday morning local time. “We are pleased to welcome them as they stepped onto land. Thanks to the Cambodian government who helped this happen.”

1,455 passengers have been waiting for the all-clear from the Ministry of Health of Cambodia. After 20 samples were tested for coronavirus in the laboratory of Pasteur in Cambodia’s capital, Phnom Penh, passengers got permission to go down.

Erik Elvejord, Holland America’s director of public relations, said the process will take several days, with the goal of having everyone on the boat by Sunday. cruise was originally scheduled to end on Saturday.

The company works for passengers booked a return flight from Phnom Penh to. In a tweet on Friday morning, the embassy told US passenger boat to look at the airport for personnel wearing a blue hat with an American flag, which will help them with their departure.

Thursday morning, WESTERDAM has docked with the authorization of the kingdom. A team from the embassy sent to the port to assist US citizens on board.

ships have been turned away from several other debarkation point, despite statements cruise lines no cases of coronavirus known among passengers and crew.

Lorraine Oliveira, a passenger from England who was traveling WESTERDAM with his family, told USA TODAY in a message on Thursday that they were “particularly relieved as something positive is happening now but is still a concern for fear something might go wrong at the last minute. ”

Oliveira saw inspectors on board carrying out health checks. He explained that while he was not certain of the exact process, passengers receive a letter with instructions to their staterooms. They do not receive mail at that time and so sit tight. Passengers still have full access to the vessel apart from duty-free shops.

“The inspection and clearance procedures are continuing,” said Elvejord USA TODAY. “Given the number of organizations involved in supporting today’s complex operation, it is time taking.”

Elvejord noted that charter flights to Phnom Penh has been secured for Friday.

“We thank everyone here in Cambodia were helpful and welcomed us right now,” he concluded.

After transferring to Phnom Penh via charter flights, passengers will catch flights home, which have been arranged and paid for by Holland America. All passengers will also receive a full refund and a future cruise credit.

The Westerdam departed Hong Kong Feb. 1 and originally was scheduled to disembark in Shanghai on Saturday before coronavirus gripped mainland China and forced itinerary changes. It was turned away from multiple other disembarkation points.

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