The last three cruise ships still at sea finally docked earlier this week to disembark passengers.
Emphasis on passengers.
But hundreds, if not thousands, of crew members still remain isolated on ships operated by Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line as both companies struggle to get their workers back home in the midst of the global coronavirus pandemic.
Complicating matters is that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention continues to restrict the docking of cruise ships.
A crew member on board the Norwegian Epic told Business Insider that a handful of the line’s ships are sailing from Florida to Great Stirrup Cay, the company’s private island in the Bahamas. A Carnival spokesperson told Business Insider that the company is planning to dispatch ships docked off North America to retrieve crew and return them to “ports in Asia, Europe, and Latin America.”
In a statement provided to Business Insider, Carnival said it is committed to taking care of its team members and getting them home to their families.
“As the company moves to safe operational manning levels during our pause in operations, we have begun the process of returning healthy crew members to their home countries throughout the world utilizing some of our fleet as transport given the limited number of commercial flights and charter options,” Carnival said. “We have currently identified a number of ships from our North American home ports to travel to ports in Asia, Europe, and Latin America. Crew members who will be transferring vessels have been cleared by our medical team and by immigration authorities in their home countries. All crew members have had their temperature taken daily while on board and will so again during the debarkation process as they move to join the ship that will transport them home.”
A Norwegian crew member said to Business Insider that the cruise line had set up charter flights to take certain crew members home, but those were canceled as a result of CDC restrictions.
“I’m quite okay, but a lot of my colleagues are bummed,” a Norwegian crew member told Business Insider. “Understandably so.”
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