Two crew members aboard the Regal Princess have tested negative for the coronavirus after the Princess Cruises ship was held off the coast of Florida for hours on Sunday while awaiting results.
There was concern that the crew members could have been infected with the virus, officially known as COVID-19, after transferring more than two weeks ago from the Grand Princess ship in California, where 19 employees and two passengers have recently tested positive.
On Sunday night, around 10 p.m., the Regal Princess finally docked in Port Everglades, the Sun-Sentinel reports.
The Regal Princess Cruise ship is seen at sea about 5 miles off the coast of Fort Lauderdale, Fla., Sunday, March 8, 2020.
(Joe Cavaretta/South Florida Sun-Sentinel via AP)
The ship had been scheduled to dock on Sunday morning, but instead sailed up and down the coast for most of the day while the Coast Guard delivered testing kits for the two Princess Cruises employees.
The unnamed crew members had recently worked on the Grand Princess ship, which has been languishing off the coast of Northern California since Thursday because of the coronavirus. Among the 3,500 people from 54 countries on the Grand Princess, at least 21 have reportedly been infected with COVID-19.
Now, the ship expected to dock at the Port of Oakland on Monday, with American passengers subsequently slated to be transferred to military posts for quarantine.
As for the Regal Princess, the CDC issued clearance for the ship to enter port after the coronavirus test results came back negative, Princess Cruises said in a statement early on Monday morning, per the Associated Press.
According to the outlet, the first passengers were allowed to disembark about one hour after the ship arrived in Port Everglades.
The cruise ship was being held off the coast of Florida Sunday as the ship waits for test results on whether two crew members have contracted the new coronavirus.
The cruise line also claimed that they did not anticipate the two Regal Princess crew members posing a risk to anyone on board because they did not exhibit respiratory symptoms consistent with COVID-19, and were well beyond the advised 14-day virus incubation period.
It remains unclear how many people were most recently on the Regal Princess. The ship has the capacity to accommodate 3,560 guests and 1,346 crew members, according to Princess Cruises.
The Regal Princess’ next cruise — a seven-day Caribbean trip — was also canceled on Sunday. Guests will receive a full refund and $300 reimbursement for one night’s hotel costs, Princess Cruises said.
Also on March 8, the State Department officially warned all Americans to avoid traveling via cruise ships in the wake of the coronavirus risk.
“U.S. citizens, especially with underlying conditions, should not travel by cruise ship. #CDC notes increased risk of #COVID19 on cruises,” the department wrote in a tweet. “Many countries have implemented screening procedures, denied port entry rights to ships and prevented disembarking.”
Fox News’ Bradford Betz, Frank Miles and the Associated Press contributed to this report.