Stranded Cruise Ship Employees Finally Disembark in Barbados

As several cruise ships remain stranded at sea with hundreds of crew members still on board, Barbados has remained a haven for the vessels despite concerns about the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

According to Loop News Barbados, around 370 Royal Caribbean employees who had been quarantined at sea since March 16 were permitted to leave their ship on Sunday after sailing to Barbados from The Bahamas several days before.

The crew members disembarked from the ship with “smiles and laughter” as they began the long process of returning home. Many were forced to wait up to five hours at Grantley Adams International Airport (GAIA) in Barbados while going through immigration, health and security screenings.

The line of Royal Caribbean employees extended throughout the airport, with people sitting on benches, their luggage and even the floor as they waited to board their rescue flight arranged by British Airways and local authorities.

“In the beginning, it was not a lot of information,” an unnamed crew member on the ship told The Loop. “I don’t think anybody knew cause the rules kept changing. Nobody knew what was happening or what to do.”

Employees said living on a ship without guests was “no fun and nothing close to normal,” but they had Wi-Fi to help them get by since everything onboard was closed.

Last week, Royal Caribbean executives confirmed the company would extend its temporary suspension of global cruise operations through July 31, except for its China business.

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