Fort Lauderdale, Fla. — After weeks at sea and being turned away from other countries, two cruise ships were given the OK to dock in Fort Lauderdale Thursday afternoon.
The Zaandam and Rotterdom both docked Thursday afternoon.
Among the passengers on the Zaandam were Jim Wing and his wife Mount Dora, who were traveling for her birthday.
“It was supposed to be a birthday celebration of my stepmother Colleen, and it’s turned into a nightmare,” said Nate Wing, Jim Wing’s son, from his home in Windermere.
Passengers who aren’t sick were given the OK to be escorted off but not allowed to have contact with other people. Those who do have symptoms are not allowed to leave, including Jim Wing of Mount Dora.
His family’s cruise ship was turned away in Chile, and was nearly kept from passing through the Panama Canal. Four people aboard have died from COVID-19, and passengers have been quarantined.
Jim and Colleen live in Mount Dora. The cruise ship is looking to dock Wednesday in Fort Lauderdale, but there is uncertainty if the ship will even be allowed to come in.
On Tuesday, Gov. Ron. DeSantis expressed concern about stress on local health care resources, saying, “I think these are mostly foreign nationals that would use resources we need for Floridians.”
On Wednesday, DeSantis said, “Clearly we’re going to be willing to accept any Floridians on board. My understanding is most passengers are foreign nationals.”
President Donald Trump weighed in as well, saying we must show humanity.
“There are people who are sick on the ships,” Trump said.
The 77-year-old has a heart condition and has been sick with flu like symptoms for about a week and is believed to have COVID-19.
“It’s really tough. My father’s been really sick, and they happen to be in an inside stateroom, too,” Nate said.
Nate has started a petition that he said will hopefully lead the governor or Broward County officials to make the call to allow the ship in so he can see his parents get home, and so his father can get the medical attention he needs.
“These are real people, real lives, not just them, but everyone on that boat," Nate said.
The ship, owned by the world's biggest cruise operator, Carnival, was turned away from Brazil and other South American ports nearly two weeks ago.
The company said it had 6,000 passengers stuck at sea.
And yet another cruise ship is still at sea waiting for permission to dock in Fort Lauderdale.
Princess cruise line's Coral Princess was turned away from Brazil and other South American ports nearly two weeks ago, 12 people on board are have tested positive for COVID-19.
The company said it had 6,000 passengers stuck at sea, all are self-isolating in their rooms.