A Holland America cruise ship with sick passengers and its sister ship will be allowed to dock in Florida, sources tell NBC News.
It was expected that the Broward County Commission in Fort Lauderdale would vote on whether to allow the Zaandam and Rotterdam ships to dock, but sources say a deal has been reached for them to land Thursday.
The Rotterdam is scheduled to dock at 1 p.m. at Port Everglades, and the Zaandam at 1:30 p.m.
Four people have died on the Zaandam, at least two of them from the coronavirus. Nine others have tested positive and 179 more have flu-like symptoms.
“I have more hope right now than I’ve had in a long time,” Jennifer Allan, whose parents, Gloria and Bill Weed, are on the Zaandam, told NBC News, upon news of the planned docking.
Both of Allan’s parents are sick, with her father suffering from pneumonia. She said her greatest fear is that her father’s condition will get worse “very, very quickly.”
Another passenger, Doris Kolber, said she is thrilled she and her husband, Cliff, will soon be leaving the ship. Her husband said his happiness will come once he is back on land.
“Until I hear the final word, I’m still waiting,” Cliff Kolber told NBC News in an interview from his cabin.
He reflected on how much the coronavirus pandemic has changed life since their cruise began.
“We’re going to be coming into a land that is totally different than when we left a month ago,” he said. But, he said, “We will cope and we will survive.”