The Zaandam ship, currently off the coast of Panama, tested multiple passengers with respiratory symptoms for COVID-19 and yesterday two individuals tested positive.
Four older guests died on the ship, Holland America Line confirmed.
“Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and we are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time,” a statement read.
The cruise line said it first saw a number of guests reporting to the medical center with influenza-like illness symptoms on March 22.
Guests were told to self-isolate in their staterooms and given face masks.
Currently, 53 guests (4%) and 85 crew (14%) have reported to Zaandam’s medical center with influenza-like illness symptoms.
The ship was meant to arrive in Fort Lauderdale, Florida, on March 30.
A statement from Holland America Line Friday read: "We continue to work with the Panamanian authorities on approval to transit the Panama Canal for sailing to Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
"Today we announced a plan to transfer groups of healthy Zaandam guests to Rotterdam, with strict protocols for this process developed in conjunction with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
"Only those who have not been ill will be moved, and health screenings will be conducted before transferring.
"Priority for the first guests to transfer will be given to those on Zaandam with inside staterooms and who are over 70.
"Once aboard Rotterdam, all guests will continue to remain in their staterooms until disembarkation. Any guests who are currently ill, or in isolation as a close contact, and all crew will remain on Zaandam."
A total of 1,243 guests and 586 crew members are on board.
There are four doctors and four nurses also on board.
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