The last three of the cruise liner carrying more passengers remain, today, April 20, will go to the ports of registration. One of them overcame a great distance to get home, according to BBC correspondent Owen Amos.
Cruise ship MSC Magnifica went on a world trip from Europe back in January and found themselves in another corner of the world, when the ports started to close. The ship, owned by a Swiss company, has gone a long way home. Its passengers, accustomed to arrive at a new port every few days, last time I landed 6 weeks ago in Wellington, New Zealand.
Monday, April 20, these passengers finally disembarked in the French city of Marseille.
During this voyage the ship has weathered political storms, one death, but despite all the adventure, passengers leave in a good mood.
The long way home
When 5 Jan liner Magnifica came from Genoa in Italy, the world looked quite different. “Unknown pneumonia” as it was called then, had no name. No one died, reported the world health organization, only 59 people were infected — all in Wuhan.
We can say that most of 1760 passengers Magnifica — mostly Italians, French and Germans — had not even heard about the virus.
After Italy, the ship made it across the Atlantic to Brazil and the passengers were able to see the countries of South America. However, on 2 March the ship was forbidden to moor to the Pacific island Aitutaki, famous for its turquoise lagoon and white sand. While some cruise ships such as Diamond Princess in Japan, has sent to the quarantine, their passengers were forbidden to leave the ship, and some of them died because of coronavirus.
14 Mar captain Magnifica Roberto Leotta before entering the port on the Australian island of Tasmania decided that the trip to the island, passengers can return home not only with Souvenirs.
“We have decided that it is much better for our passengers stay safe on Board,” he says of the air force.
The cruise was canceled, some passengers were allowed to go ashore in Sydney and Melbourne. This opportunity was used by several hundred, but most decided to stay on Board and sail 19 000 miles within five weeks through a different route.
Soon the ship was forbidden to enter the port of Fremantle in Western Australia, although the owner of the ship insisted that the Board is not sick coronavirus infection. After a series of discussions with local government the ship was allowed only to refuel. At the next stop in Sri Lanka, the ship was allowed to leave for emergency medical care not related coronavirus, 75-year-old passenger who later died on the island.
20 APR Magnifica was one of the last three cruise ships that conducted the disembarkation of passengers, according to the international Association of cruises. In addition to the Magnifica, it will make Pacific Princess in Los Angeles and Costa Deliziosa in Barcelona.
Captain Magnifica Roberto Leotta said that, despite the difficulties passengers have spent the past week traveling in a great mood.
“We became like a family — our guests and our team together,” he says.
But can the cruise industry to recover from the worst year in its history?
“We will return to cruise flight, and we will be back better prepared than before, with more experience. We study a lot, we will be stronger than ever before”, — optimistically says the captain Leotta.
He works on cruises for 32 years, and before that worked for three years on tankers and one in the Italian Navy. Many of his native Sicilian town of Riposto, in particular, his father and grandfather were sailors.
“This is what is in my DNA,” says the captain.
“Lucky that we have a window”
Some passengers of a luxury cruise liner, which traveled the world for 15 weeks, until the new coronavirus spread by land, began to land in North-Eastern Spain. Port of call in Barcelona marks the beginning of the final round the world cruise, Costa Deliziosa, whose owner, the Italian company Costa Crociere, argues that the Board had no cases COVID-19, writes USA Today.
The ship sailed the last 5 weeks with virtually no contact with the outside world.
It is expected that hundreds of 1831, a passenger vessel, including 168 Spaniards coming ashore in Spain, and the rest will do it next and last stop is Genoa, Italy.
The Deliziosa ship was originally supposed to be in Venice on April 26. The company said that the passenger left the ship early in the week in Marsala, Sicily, because of health problems and passed the test for COVID-19, which was negative. Unlike other cruise ships that have suffered from outbreaks and often were placed in quarantine to protect port cities, Deliziosa was a ship without a virus, which allowed passengers to use the facilities and entertainment.
The ship sailed from Venice in early January and stopped to make visits to the ports after he left Western Australia in March, except stopping to refuel.
The French authorities rejected the request of the ship for permission to land a few hundred passengers from France and neighbouring countries in Marseille.
“The health situation on Board ships, from 1814 guests and 898 crew members, poses no problems for public health and does not have cases COVID-19”, — reads the statement of the crew.
Passenger Jean-Pierre Escarra from Marseille made a video of his cabin, which his daughter shared in social networks, in which he says: “This is our place of detention. We are lucky that we have a window”.
Passengers said ports in Oman, along the Suez canal and in the ports the Seychelles and the Indian ocean, refused to allow the ship to dock.
The crew reported that the passengers kept in cabins only for a period while the test of one of the guests, who felt bad, gave negative for the coronavirus. The company said that since the ship is under Italian flag, it was the Italian precautions to be used in a pandemic, including the delineation of safety between the guests, such as managing the number of people who can enter the feed zone, and a stream of entertainment on the televisions in the cabin.
French, whose relatives are onboard the Costa Deliziosa, gathered about 100 signatures on an online petition to convince the French government to intervene to bring them home. But the French authorities banned Deliziosa to plant more than 1,000 passengers to the final destination in Italy.
The regional administration of the city of Bouches-du-rhône in the South of France referred to the national ban on the docking of foreign cruise ships as part of the measures to limit the spread of the virus in the country. Italy has also banned foreign cruise ships call at ports.
The French administration provided the benefits of six other cruise ships in recent weeks to allow passengers from France to go ashore, but this time refused, saying that the previous stop excessively strained local police and health authorities, already mobilized to fight serious viral crisis in France.
In March, the Italian ports were two other cruise liner Costa, including one, on Board of which were previously passengers, which were found positive for COVID-19. It is unclear, whether to send to quarantine passengers who finally touches down after the long weeks of travel aboard the Deliziosa.