There is anxiety among some 300 cruise ship employees scheduled to board Royal Caribbean’s Vision of the Sea for a voyage to Port-of-Spain, without the certainty of whether they will we be allowed into the country.
Closed borders as a result of COVID-19 has left Royal Caribbean International cruise liners at sea.
The US company ordered ships to drop off passengers at the various ports in the US back in March.
As countries shut their borders, ships can only pick up provisions, but members cannot disembark.
A T&T national, who requested anonymity, told Guardian Media that Royal Caribbean began conversations with various Caribbean governments to repatriate employees. So far, there are agreements with various governments, but the T&T nationals did not get clearance up to yesterday. Employees from the various Royal Caribbean vessels will board the Vision of the Seas in the US and begin their trip to the Caribbean on May 15. The ship should reach St Kitts & Nevis on May 19 and Dominica on the following day. It continues to Barbados, Grenada and St Vincent and the Grenadines. It’s expected to reach T&T on May 30.
“My understanding is that the company is still in talks with our government and there has not been much traction with that. There isn’t a 100 per cent guarantee that we will be allowed into the country on May 30.
“On Royal Caribbean’s side, they are putting us on a ship that will stop at the various Caribbean islands. Those governments are allowing members entry, like Grenada, St Lucia and others. St Vincent required their citizens to be quarantined on the ship. The company and that government agreed so that will happen,” the employee said.
In detailing the government’s phased lifting of COVID-19 restrictions last Saturday, Prime Minister Dr Keith Rowley said that T&T’s borders will reopen in the sixth phase. He did not give a date for the fourth, fifth and sixth phases. The third phase ends on June 20.
While Royal Caribbean took care of its employees while anchored at sea, they began repatriations this week. On Tuesday, the company returned 85 Haitians and will continue to send employees home using ships and chartered flights.
Regarding the safety of their return, the employee said everyone passed 14 days of quarantine and no one on her vessel fell ill. She said once the government allows entry, they do not mind quarantine.