MIAMI (CBSMiami) – After confirmation that 2 people had died on the Coral Princess, Miami-Dade County leaders and US Coast Guard officials allowed the cruise ship to dock at Port Miami early Saturday morning.
A passenger who remains on the ship says it was a voyage she never expected, but is relieved to be back home.
“I’m not afraid I have just been increasingly worried,” said Julie McRae.
The ship was denied by 3 countries and it was announced that 12 people had COVID-19 onboard.
“Things got worse from our standpoint because what ended up happening is that the ship had been healthy and than it became unhealthy,” said McRae.
Saturday morning, still onboard, she says she was glad to be home.
“Somewhat relieved, I am right now because we are back in the United States. I trust now that we are back in the United States and it will all work out because people will take care of us.”
The Coral Princess was initially supposed to dock at Port Everglades, but after being turned away, Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez said they granted the ship access Saturday morning.
It happened when they were informed two patients on board needed immediate critical care and two others had died, although it’s not known the cause of death for either person.
“It’s unfortunate that on the way here two passengers died. So for me it was okay, we have to take some people out that are in serious condition and we need to save some lives. They need to have a plan and the plan didn’t really come into place until this morning. But im convinced the plan is solid,” said Mayor Gimenez.
Gimenez said two of the critically ill patients have been taken to Larkin Hospital. Two others have been taken to Tampa for treatment.
Healthy passengers have started to disembark the ship, but Mayor Gimenez says 65 passengers and crew members will remain on the ship under quarantine.
Those who are healthy are being given a health screening form.
Passengers that are headed to Miami International Airport will be taken to a closed-off terminal and will take charter flights home.
“All of the passengers are being screened before heading to the airport to get to their final destination. We will have many more challenges in the weeks ahead. So we will fight COVID-19.”
McRae has been on board since March 5.
Disembarking the ship soon, she says she’s glad this nightmare is over.
“And now I’m going to be feeling better because I trust that everyone will take care of us,” said McRae.
Mayor Gimenez says everyone getting off the ship will be required to wear a mask and self-isolate for 14 days once they are home.
US Coast Guard officials said this about the ship coming to Miami, “The US Coast Guard permitted the Coral Princess to enter port this morning after addressing Coast Guard requirements for a medical plan regarding hazardous conditions aboard.”
Miami-Dade Mayor Carlos Gimenez talked about the Coral Princes during a Saturday afternoon press conference. Watch it here:
There are 1,898 people on board including 1,020 guests and 878 crew members.
Coral Princess set sail on March 5 from Santiago, Chile on a South America voyage which was scheduled to end in Buenos Aires on March 19.
On March 12, Princess Cruises announced a 60-day pause in operations in response to the global spread of coronavirus.
Coral Princess had planned to disembark in Buenos Aires on March 19 and March 20 as originally scheduled.
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