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4 passengers dead on Holland America cruise ship headed to Florida

The Zaandam ship has been anchored off the coast of Panama awaiting permission to travel through the Panama Canal on its way back to Florida.
Zaandam cruise chip, credit: Holland America

PORT EVERGLADES, Hollywood — Holland America cruise line confirmed Friday that four people have died on its Zaandam ship.

"Our thoughts and prayers are with their families and we are doing everything we can to support them during this difficult time," Holland America said in a blog post.

The ship is off the coast of Panama as it waits permission to go through the Panama Canal on its way back to Port Everglades in Florida. 

The cruise line, owned by Miami-based Carnival Corp., also said almost 150 people on board have flu-like symptoms. It recently rendezvoused with sister ship Rotterdam to transfer groups of healthy passengers to the other ship.

On Thursday, the cruise line said several people were tested for COVID-19, and two people tested positive. Since March 22, Holland America said all passengers on the Zaandam have been asked to self-isolate in their staterooms.

All guests and crew were given face masks. There are 1,243 people and 586 crew on board.

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The ship departed Buenos Aires on March 7 and was supposed to end in San Antonio, Chile, on March 21. No person has been off the ship since March 14 when it was in Punta Arenas, Chile.

Holland America said anyone with family on board can call the follow numbers for information:

  • 877-425-2231 
  • 206-626-7398

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