Zaandam and Rotterdam Await Permission from Local South Florida Authorities for Humanitarian Disembarkation of Guests

Zaandam and Rotterdam Await Permission from Local South Florida Authorities for Humanitarian Disembarkation of Guests

Holland America Line is awaiting confirmation to disembark guests from Zaandam and Rotterdam in Fort Lauderdale, Florida. We remain fully engaged with the Broward Unified Command and other governmental and embassy authorities to resolve this humanitarian situation and get the nearly 1,200 well guests home immediately who are fit for travel per guidelines from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC). Both ships are scheduled to arrive at the boundary of U.S. waters by early tomorrow morning and will remain outside U.S. waters while awaiting clearance to enter.

Guests fit for travel per the CDC would transfer straight from the ship to flights for onward travel home, the majority on charter flights. Out of an abundance of caution, these guests will be transported in coaches that will be sanitized, with limited person-to-person contact and while wearing masks. These provisions well exceed what the CDC have advised is necessary for their travel. Guests have not left the ship since March 14 and have self-isolated in their staterooms since March 22.

The approximately 45 guests who still have mild illness and are unfit to travel at this time will continue to isolate on board until recovered. Disembarkation would be at a later date to be determined and only after they have recovered and are in alignment with CDC guidelines for being fit to travel.

For the estimated less than ten people who need immediate critical care shoreside, we have secured approval from a local health system partner that they will accept them for treatment. This small number is the only group that will require any support from medical resources in Broward County and is necessary to prevent further harm to their health.

Since March 22, 97 guests (83 on Zaandam/14 on Rotterdam) and 136 crew on Zaandam (0 on Rotterdam) have presented with influenza-like symptoms. We have seen a significant decline in the presentation of new cases on Zaandam, with only 1 new case reporting in the past 24 hours.

There are 808 guests and 583 crew on Rotterdam. On Zaandam there are 442 guests and 603 crew.

Holland America Line calls for compassion and reason in the review and approval of our disembarkation plan by Florida officials and we are grateful for those that have supported our efforts.

We appreciate the support of President Trump in resolving the humanitarian plight of our guests – 311 of whom are American citizens and 52 of whom are residents of Florida. There are also four children under the age of 12 on board.

Due to global health concerns, Holland America Line made the decision to suspend its global cruise operations for 30 days and end its current cruises in progress as quickly as possible.  At the time, Zaandam was sailing a South America cruise that began in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 7 that was originally scheduled to end at San Antonio, Chile, on March 21. Attempts were made and denied to disembark guests in Chile on March 15 and in other ports along its route to the U.S.

On March 21, Zaandam was originally scheduled to begin a 20-day South America and Panama Canal cruise from San Antonio, Chile, and end in Fort Lauderdale on April 7. On March 30 an additional 30-day extension of cruise cancellations was announced, including departures through May 14.


Join the Discussion


  1. Eric April 1, 2020 at 7:26 pm - Reply

    Thank you, Trump!

    Because of you, lives will be saved and you’ve assisted HAL in these difficult times, whilst others turned their backs on them and its people.

  2. Denise Lovato April 1, 2020 at 7:41 pm - Reply

    I am embarrassed to say that I am an American as our country has shown so little compassion for the crew and guests aboard the Zaandam and Rotterdam They should be allowed to disembark and fly home if they do not show signs of virus and quarantine at home for 14 days. Plus those that are ill should be hospitalized and care for like all other patients of COVID-19. Best wishes to those aboard the two Holland American ships. And may we all get through this together as humans that care for each other.

  3. Carol Heap April 1, 2020 at 8:07 pm - Reply

    We are glad to hear your trip to bring your ship to Ft Lauderdale will hopefully end tomorrow successfully . Welcome to Florida, Carol & Ted , West Palm Beach.

  4. Patricia April 1, 2020 at 9:52 pm - Reply

    Good news. Thanks to HAL for taking such good care of all guests on these ships.

  5. Patricia Oakes April 1, 2020 at 11:24 pm - Reply

    Thank you for working so hard to reach this point. In a unprecedented and unimaginable situation, you have done all you can for both passengers and crew. Thank you again. We look forward to our next cruise next year.

  6. P.J. HEUSDENS April 2, 2020 at 4:58 am - Reply

    We embarked on our first (test) cruise ever last year (Feb 9 to 17) on New Statendam from Ft Lauderdale. The experience was fantastic. Unfortunately the current worldwide pandemic puts a (hopefully temporary) stop to furher plans.

    We have with great compassion been following the way Holland America Line is handling the current situation with regard to getting all their passengers to safety and back home, including crew and ships.
    Especially we are totally in awe at the way Holand America Line is acting beyond and above anything imaginable with regard to the plight of Zaandam by sending Rotterdam to assist.
    Thank you so much for doing such a fantastic job and we hope and pray that everybody will soon be home safely.

    Deep and sincere regards,
    Pieter and Sigrid

  7. Rick Lauder April 2, 2020 at 10:01 am - Reply

    Great work! For sure I will cruise again with Holland America.

  8. Susan Vlamp April 2, 2020 at 4:02 pm - Reply

    I am so happy a desolution has been reached for the passengers. Please ensure that all crew on board are looked after as well. They have had a tough time also and have been working hard to keep everyone safe

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