After nearly a month at sea and two days in port, Americans onboard the Coral Princess cruise ship are still trying to get home in the wake of the global coronavirus pandemic.
The ship docked at PortMiami late Saturday night with 1,898 people – 1,020 passengers and 878 crew members– and began disembarking the most critically ill patients for medical treatment.
Two passengers died while the ship was at sea and a third died after being transported by a private ambulance to a hospital in Hialeah, Florida, late Saturday night, according to Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez.
At least 12 people who were on the ship tested positive for coronavirus on April 2 after receiving tests in Barbados, according to a statement from Princess Cruises.
At least 90 more passengers remain onboard, Princess Cruises said Tuesday afternoon. All passengers with medical needs have been taken off the ship.
Six passengers, including one that died, were taken off the ship Saturday to receive medical treatment. On Sunday, eight more people were transported to hospitals, the release from Gimenez said.
On Monday, Canadian passengers were given priority disembarkation and the ship put them on chartered flights back to their country, the cruise line statement said.
The 90 passengers still onboard the Coral Princess are international guests who remain on the ship because of current travel restrictions, Princess Cruises said. They are awaiting clearance from their home countries, the cruise line told CNN.
Other flights were chartered for those headed to California, Australia and the United Kingdom over the weekend while Florida residents were taken home by chauffeured ground transport, according to the cruise line.
More charter flights were scheduled to depart Tuesday, the statement said.
The ship left from Santiago, Chile, on March 5 for a South American cruise and spent nearly a month at sea before being given permission to dock at PortMiami on Saturday.
The cruise was scheduled to end in Buenos Aires, Argentina, on March 19 but was left without port after the global pandemic led to ports shutting down and cruise lines suspending operations.
The disembarkation process
New restrictions were put in place just a day after the cruise ship docked.
The Department of Homeland Security and Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued new rules to prevent passengers and crew members recently arriving in the US from boarding domestic commercial flights.
These restriction apply to all people, even those who are asymptomatic. They also require a two week quarantine.
“In order to protect the safety and welfare of our guests, as well as the population of other communities, authorities have dictated several requirements and protocols,” a statement from Princess Cruise Lines said Monday. “We are required to follow these requisites without variance, and when they change, we must adjust our plans.”
Any passengers or crew members will need to fly on charter aircraft or use private ground transportation to return home.
“We continue to work through the CDC’s updated recommendations regarding post-disembarkation travel for cruise passengers, which includes no travel via commercial flights nor shared air or ground transportation with non-cruise guests,” the statement said.
Before anyone can get off the ship, the cruise line is required to report passenger conditions to federal agencies including the CDC, Customs and Border Protection and the US Coast Guard, according to a press release from the office of Mayor Gimenez Sunday.
CNN’s John Murgatroyd, Eric Levenson, Melissa Alonso, Jason Hanna, Evan Perez and Jeremy Diamond contributed to this report.