SAN DIEGO — A Holland America Line cruise ship was on its way back to port Saturday after Mexican health officials would not allow guests to disembark in Puerto Vallarta following positive Covid-19 tests on board.
The health department of the Mexican state of Jalisco said 21 crew members tested positive for Covid upon arrival in Puerto Vallarta on Thursday.
It said passengers’ potential exposure meant they would not be allowed to disembark.
“Through onboard testing, we have confirmed that a small number of fully-vaccinated crew on Koningsdam tested positive for COVID-19,” Holland America said in a statement. “All are showing mild or no symptoms and are in isolation. Close contacts have been quarantined out of an abundance of caution.”
The cruise line said the ship left Puerto Vallarta following a last-minute notification from authorities that guests would not be allowed ashore.
The ship was expected to return to San Diego on Sunday, the cruise line said.
The ship, with 874 crew members and 1,035 passengers, was on a cruise that included stops in Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlán, the Jalisco health officials said.
They said one crew member was positive Dec. 18, the day before the ship left San Diego. It’s not clear whether the crew member was on board.
Guests are required to show proof of full vaccination and negative Covid-19 tests taken within two days of boarding the ship, according to cruise line health and safety guidelines.
It’s unclear how local health officials will handle the cases after the ship returns. San Diego County’s health department did not immediately respond to a request for comment.
The Port of San Diego website does not list protocol information for travelers in such situations.
The port resumed cruises as pandemic case numbers slid Oct. 1.
The outbreak came as the Florida-based cruise ship Carnival Freedom was denied entry to Bonaire and Aruba following an undisclosed number of Covid cases on board, Carnival said in a statement Friday.
Passengers were required to be vaccinated and were tested before the ship left, the cruise line said. The ship, carrying 2,497 passengers and 1,112 crew members, was expected back in Miami on Sunday after eight days at sea.
It was the third outbreak this week affecting cruise ships that had departed from Florida.
Kurt Chirbas contributed.