The swine flu fears that swept Australian ports two weeks ago have arrived in the Caribbean.
Industry giant Royal Caribbean says one of its ships, the 3,114-passenger Adventure of the Seas, was turned away from St. Lucia Wednesday over worries the vessel was carrying the H1N1 swine flu virus. The line says another island, Antigua, also has told the ship not to visit as scheduled on Thursday.
Royal Caribbean says the islands’ decisions came after the line reported two crew members and a passenger on the ship had been experiencing flu-like symptoms, but the company notes the affected people were immediately isolated and treated as is standard procedure.
“Although we recognize their concerns, we are disappointed and surprised that the governments of St. Lucia and Antigua did not let our guests disembark in their country,” Royal Caribbean’s chief medical officer, Art Diskin, said in a statement. “Our onboard health protocols are working well and these illnesses were treated quickly and effectively.”
Royal Caribbean noted in the statement that it has decades of experience in treating passengers and crew members with possible flu viruses.
The Adventure of the Seas departed San Juan, Puerto Rico Sunday on a seven-night Southern Caribbean cruise but so far only has been able to make one of its scheduled port calls, in Bridgetown, Barbados. In addition to the canceled port calls in Castries, St. Lucia and St. Johns, Antigua, the vessel also had been scheduled to visit Philipsburg, St. Maarten and St. Croix, Virgin Islands later this week. There’s no word yet on whether the two islands will allow the ship to dock.
The Adventure of the Seas’ newfound trouble finding a port that will allow it to visit recalls the week-long odyssey experienced two weeks ago by passengers on P&O Cruises’ swine flu-affected Pacific Dawn in Australia. That ship sailed for nearly an entire week before finding a port that would allow it to dock. The cruise eventually was ended three days early.