Holland America cruise skips Mexico stop after positive Covid-19 tests

SAN DIEGO — A Holland America Line cruise ship was on its way back to port Saturday after Mexican health officials would not allow guests to disembark in Puerto Vallarta following positive Covid-19 tests on board.

The health department of the Mexican state of Jalisco said 21 crew members aboard the ship tested positive for Covid upon arrival in Puerto Vallarta on Thursday.

It said passengers’ potential exposure means they would not be allowed to disembark.

“Through onboard testing, we have confirmed that a small number of fully-vaccinated crew on Koningsdam tested positive for COVID-19,” Holland America said in a statement. “All are showing mild or no symptoms and are in isolation. Close contacts have been quarantined out of an abundance of caution.”

The cruise line said the ship left Puerto Vallarta following a last-minute notification from authorities that guest would not be allowed ashore.

The ship was expected to return to San Diego on Sunday, the cruise line said.

The ship has 874 crew and 1,035 passengers and was on a cruise that included stops in Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlán, the Jalisco health officials said.

They said one crew member was positive Dec. 18, and the ship left San Diego the next day. It’s not clear if that crew member was on board.

Guests are required to show proof of full vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test taken within two days of boarding the ship, according to cruise line health and safety guidelines. 

It’s unclear how local health officials will handle the cases after the ship returns. The county’s health department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The Port of San Diego website does not have protocol information listed for travelers in such a situation.

The port resumed cruises amid a slide in pandemic case numbers Oct. 1.

The outbreak came as the Florida-based Carnival Freedom cruise ship was denied entry to Bonaire and Aruba following an undisclosed number of Covid cases aboard the vessel, Carnival said in a statement Friday.

Passengers were required to be vaccinated and were tested before leaving, the cruise line said. The ship, carrying 2,497 passengers and 1,112 crew members, was expected back in Miami on Sunday after eight days at sea.

It was the third outbreak this week affecting cruise ships that had departed from Florida.

Kurt Chirbas contributed.

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