Cruise passengers on Seabourn Ovation have been prevented from disembarking by Vietnamese authorities.

The 600-passenger ship was due to call at several ports in the Philippines, where the first coronavirus fatality outside China was confirmed last week.

However, restrictions imposed by the country’s authorities amid the outbreak  prompted the line to change the itinerary and visit ports of call in Vietnam instead.

The ship is now continuing to Thailand after several hours of discussions on Tuesday with port authorities in Da Nang.

The line said the ship was not granted clearance by officials for “unknown reasons” but said it does not have any medical issues reported on board that would preclude its ability to visit.

“Seabourn continues to work with all local authorities to continue operating the remainder of the voyage,” a spokesman added.

Seabourn Ovation is scheduled to arrive in Singapore on February 14.

Not Just Travel agent Gilly Bachelor is sailing with her husband Brian on the ship, which left Hong Kong on February 1 and has so far not docked anywhere.

Gilly Bachelor and Brian, Seabourn Ovation, February 2020

Gilly Bachelor with her husband Brian on board Seabourn Ovation

Bachelor said: “We arrived in Vietnam and we were given a new selection of tours, but we were not allowed off the ship.

“Our visas were rejected in Vietnam and we’re now heading for Thailand but not stopping until February 7.

“We were refused because of the coronavirus [outbreak] and the fact that we came from Hong Kong.”

Documents seen by Travel Weekly show that passengers have been given $250 onboard credit as “a gesture of concern” by Seabourn.

In a letter to passengers, Seabourn said: “We very much regret this further disruption to your cruise itinerary.”

Despite the revised itinerary and the risk of remaining at sea for two weeks, Bachelor said the atmosphere on board was “really good”.

“People are genuinely having a good time,” Bachelor said. “I do not know how that is going to change when people realise that we could be at sea for 14 days.

“If you are going to be stuck at sea on this ship then this is fine. Everyone is very positive, but anything could happen.”

 

 


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