Carnival Cruises on Thursday turned away several passengers who were headed to Progreso.
Angry passengers told reporters that “underlying health conditions” including diabetes were why they were banned from the Carnival Fantasy.
The Cozumel leg of the trip was also canceled as a health precaution.
While screening passengers, Carnival says they will continue to operate during this “unprecedented time in the cruise industry and the world.”
Earlier Thursday the Carnival Corporation announced that Princess Cruises, one of its subsidiaries, was suspending global operations for 60 days.
The Carnival Fantasy departed Mobile, Ala., for Progresso and Cozumel early Friday after an eight-hour-long delay that was attributed to fog.
Ashley Maynor said her group came from Illinois to cruise out of Mobile and that they weren’t told they couldn’t board because of the underlying health issue until 9:30 p.m. She said they weren’t given a hotel room until at least seven hours later.
Of the six people in her group. four didn’t get on the ship. She says the other two tried to get off the ship, but couldn’t because of long lines at the guest services desks.
Carnival released new coronavirus guidelines earlier this month, saying that passengers who recently traveled to China would not be allowed to board the ship. Extra steps have been taken to sanitize the ship, and passengers are being screened before boarding.
Those with underlying health issues have been urged to avoid cruises, but Carnival did not say it would ban those passengers from boarding.
Maynor says she saw dozens of passengers be turned away because of pre-existing health issues because of a new policy that went into effect at midnight Friday.
The cruise line sent this statement Friday morning:
Carnival Cruise Line has added new questions to its health screening form completed by all embarking guests fleetwide which are consistent with the industry discussions with federal officials.
The questions include asking guests if they are age 70 or older, if they have been hospitalized in the past two months for or if they have a history of chronic or severe medical conditions. The CDC defines chronic conditions as an illness persisting for a long time or constantly recurring, such as diabetes, heart, kidney or lung disease. Additional severe medical conditions include: suppressed immunity (active cancer, taking steroids) or if the person requires oxygen for any reason. Guests with chronic or severe medical conditions will not be allowed to sail.
Additionally, for this weekend’s departures, guests 70 years of age or older will not be allowed to sail, unless they have a letter from their physician confirming they are fit to sail.
We apologize for the disappointment of our guests. These are extraordinary times and the requirements placed on us are changing by the hour and advance notice isn’t always possible.
Maynor says they are now headed back home instead of to Mexico.
Many passengers boarding the Fantasy said they had prepared extra hand sanitizer for the trip, while some getting off the ship say they had no idea that the coronavirus had become a global pandemic while they were on vacation.
Sources: NBC15, WKRG