February 9, 2020
(9:15 a.m. EST) -- Four Chinese passengers on a recent Anthem of the Seas cruise did not test positive for coronavirus, allowing the Royal Caribbean ship to resume sailing.
The ship had delayed its February 8 sailing from Bayonne until Monday, February 10; it will sail a modified itinerary to Bermuda.
The line announced late Saturday night that the four Chinese nationals, none of whom had showed clinical signs or symptoms of coronoavirus, had the disease. One of the pasengers had tested for influenza, and all had been taken to a nearby hospital for tests after getting off the previous voyage. Royal Caribbean's records show the four passengers hadn't been in China since January 26. (According to the CDC, symptoms can take from two to 14 days to present.)
The ship arrived at the Cape Liberty Cruise Terminal on Friday, February 7, where all remaining passengers were able to disembark as normal.
Anthem of the Seas originally was scheduled to leave February 7 on an eight-night cruise to Florida and the Bahamas. While the ship has been cleared by authorities to depart, Royal Caribbean elected to hold off until results came in from the CDC. According to a news release from Royal Caribbean, the delay is due to a high volume of tests for which the CDC is responsible.
Royal Caribbean said Anthem of the Seas will depart Cape Liberty at 3 p.m. Monday; February 10; embarkation will take place at 11 a.m. The ship will spend a day at sea, one and a half days in King's Wharf, Bermuda, and another day at sea before returning Saturday to New Jersey. According to the cruise line, the decision to reroute to Bermuda was made in consideration with a providing a better experience for those continuing on the shortened voyage.
Passengers choosing to sail this modified itinerary will receive a 50 percent refund added as an onboard credit; a 50 percent future cruise credit; prorated refunds for any purchased internet, beverage or dining packages as an onboard credit; and refunds for prepurchased excursions. Remaining funds in onboard accounts following the conclusion of the voyage will be refunded back to the credit card on file.
The cruise line is offering compensation to defray hotel costs at $200 per cabin, per night. It also has said it will cover flight change fee costs up to $200 per person for domestic flights and $400 per person for international flights for those passengers who have flown in for the cruise already.
Passengers have been told they may cancel if they're booked on the sailing and receive full refunds simply by not showing up to the pier. Royal Caribbean said it expects to process refunds three to five business days after the sailing ends.
Two ships in Asia are quarantined because of a coronavirus outbreak -- Diamond Princess off Yokohama (Tokyo), Japan and World Dream, off Hong Kong. Other ships, such as Westerdam, Silver Spirit and Seabourn Ovation, are banned from ports. Steps are being taken to disembark passengers where possible.