The last three cruise ships still at sea were brought to port on Monday when the industry stopped amid the coronavirus pandemic.
The MSC Magnifica docked in the south of France in the early hours after stopping its voyage around the world six weeks ago in New Zealand, when passengers were allowed to leave the ship freely.
In the meantime the Costa Deliziosa also made a stop in Barcelona after sailing for 35 continuous days from Perth without any direct contact with the outside world.
Eventually, the Pacific Princess was due to dock in Los Angeles in the early hours of Monday after sailing from Fremantle, Australia, where she had landed on March 21 last.
The MSC Magnifica was photographed in the port of Marseille on Monday morning, six weeks after the last outing of the passengers in New Zealand to avoid carrying the coronavirus on board
The Costa Deliziosa pictured in the port of Barcelona, its first stop from Perth on March 16th. The ship’s last port of call will be Genoa, Italy, where it is scheduled for Wednesday
After today, the Deliziosa will be the only cruise ship at sea in any part of the world while making a final trip to Genoa, where it will come to rest on Wednesday.
All three ships were taking part in trips around the world, which began in the first week of January, when the coronavirus was first emerging in China.
As they left – two on January 4 and the third on January 5 – the disease was not even known as a coronavirus. It was simply “pneumonia of unknown origin”.
By the time they went to sea, the virus has crossed the world, infecting around 2.4 million people and killing 166,000.
However, despite the fact that cruise ships were among the first outbreaks of the virus, none of the three ships that dock today has had a single confirmed infection on board.
This meant that passengers were free to socialize, dine together and use facilities such as cinemas and gyms while the rest of the world went on a block.
Now they face the return to countries with strict social exclusion measures in place, where many of the comforts they have continued to enjoy are prohibited.
Carlos Paya, a Spanish traveler aboard the Deliziosa, described his decision to go on a cruise as “a stroke of luck”.
168 passengers were allowed to disembark from Deliziosa in Barcelona on Wednesday, their first contact with the outside world for 35 days
Deliziosa passengers – who had previously been granted full use of the ship due to the absence of coronavirus cases on board – now return to a country in full blockade
“Of course, for those of us who have children in Spain, we would have preferred to go back,” said Paya.
“Other passengers, on the other hand, given their old age wanted to stay on board knowing that the boat was safe and secure.”
Paya was thought to be among the 16831 passengers on the boat and the 898 crew members who had managed to land in Barcelona on Monday.
The rest will come ashore in Genoa on Wednesday.
French authorities have denied permission for the ship to dock in Marseille, where MSC Magnifica made a stop on Monday morning.
The ship disembarked all its 1,760 passengers, six weeks after Captain Roberto Leotta – from Italy – decided to cancel the trip.
The last Magnifica made a scheduled stop in New Zealand on March 11, before setting sail for Tasmania where she was due to dock on March 14.
But seeing the virus spread, Captain Leotta decided to keep people on board the ship and set sail for Sydney, according to BBC reports.
The Pacific Princess (pictured in Melbourne on April 3) will also arrive in Los Angeles on Monday, after sailing for 30 days from Fremantle, Australia
It was there that he decided to abandon the trip and draw a route home.
Some passengers were allowed to disembark from the ship in Sydney and to another stop in Melbourne on March 19 under strict conditions.
Another stop in Sri Lanka saw an authorized crew member leave and a German woman was evacuated due to non-coronavirus conditions, which subsequently died.
Otherwise, passengers have not set foot on dry land for 40 days.
Speaking of the incredible journey, Captain Leotta said: ‘We found ourselves in a situation where Covid-19 has isolated people and turned people away.
Here is the opposite. We have become like a family: our guests and our crew together. The spirit was beautiful. ‘
Meanwhile, the Pacific Princess was due to dock in Los Angeles around 7.30 am local time, a cruise line spokesman said.
Ever since ships started their journey, coronavirus has gone from a small series of pneumonia cases in Wuhan, China, to a global pandemic that has infected over 2 million
Most of the ship’s passengers had already landed in Fremantle, Australia, during the ship’s last call on March 21st.
However, 115 people remained on board due to non-coronavirus health conditions, which meant they could not land.
They will be allowed to leave the ship once the port has been made.
With the arrival of the three ships on Monday, the cruise industry is now on hiatus until it is deemed safe to restart.
Speaking of when it could be last week, Carnival Cruises CEO Arnold Donald said it is unlikely that the whole industry will be able to recover immediately.
“It will be for certain destinations, certain locations and certain times,” he said.
He also admitted that people could be put off for a period of time due to the negative press in the industry generated by the coronavirus.
But he added: ‘People are booking for 2021 – we have some for this summer too. There is [still] request.’