Holland America Line’s Koningsdam cruise ship was forced to leave Puerto Vallarta in Mexico on December 23 after authorities denied passengers to disembark due to COVID cases on board. It comes as several cruise ports have recently denied ships to make their scheduled calls due to positive cases.
Koningsdam Cancels Call at Puerto Vallarta
Cruise ships being denied at ports continues as local authorities in the Mexican state of Jalisco refused passengers to disembark from a Holland America cruise ship.
The Koningsdam vessel, operated by the Carnival-owned cruise line, was forced to pull out of the port on December 23 and not go ahead with its scheduled visit to Puerto Vallarta on December 23, 2021.
According to one report, there were 21 positive cases among at least 873 crew members, which led to local health authorities denying anyone from the ship to disembark. According to the cruise line, there were few cases among the fully vaccinated crew. As a result, Koningsdam pulled away from the port and headed back out to sea.
Before the planned call to Puerto Vallarta, Koningsdam made two successful port visits. The ship made a call at Cabo San Lucas in Baja California on December 21 and Mazatlan in the Mexican Riviera on December 22. It’s unknown what the positive case numbers were for those port stops. The Holland America cruise ship started the seven-day voyage from San Diego, California, on December 18, 2021.
Koningsdam has already arrived back in San Diego after the cancelled call at Puerto Vallarta. She is scheduled to depart as expected on the next seven-day Mexican Riviera sailing on December 26. The cruise line recently tightened its protocols to make sure guests and crew remain safe during the spread of the Omicron variant.
Koningsdam is the first Pinnacle-class vessel in the fleet, and following the global suspension on operations, she restarted guest service on October 10, 2021, from the Port of San Diego. The vessel is joined by Zuiderdamm, which just resumed operations from the same port on December 23, 2021.
Holland America Tightens Mask Policy
On December 18, 2021, Holland America updated its mask policy. The cruise line said, “All guests regardless of age will be required to wear face masks at all times in elevators and in all indoor areas of the ship, except when eating or drinking or in their staterooms. This includes wearing face masks before being seated in all dining venues and Lido Market, while dancing in public lounges and outdoors if in large gatherings and physical distancing cannot be maintained.“
“Guests are recommended to use higher-grade masks indoors (such as surgical or KN95) that have two or more layers, completely cover the nose and mouth, fit snugly against the sides of the face and have a nose wire.”
The mask guidelines are in-line with updates from other cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, Princess Cruises, and Royal Caribbean. Holland America Line has also banned smoking in the casino to avoid guests with an opportunity to remove the mask.
With the concerns of the spread of Omicron, several Caribbean cruise ports have refused ships to enter ports, including when the Carnival Panorama, which also sails the Mexican Riviera was denied at Cabo San Lucas due to some cases on board. Carnival Cruise Line has even started warning guests that ports could deny a ship and that there would be no compensation given.
It’s going to be an issue moving forward as cruise lines continue to bring more cruise ships back into service after the industry-wide pause through most of 2020 and half of 2021.