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April 9: Florida cruise ships estimate, Crystal Endeavor setback, Crystal Australia closes, Fred. Olsen fleet in Rosyth, Costa delay, Greg Mortimer to dock, Zaandam/Rotterdam, #CaribbeanDreaming

Fred. Olsen fleet in Firth of Forth.jpg
Fred. Olsen's fleet is sheltering at anchorage in the Port of Rosyth, Firth of Forth
In addition to feature story coverage, here's a quick read of some of today’s other coronavirus-related cruise news and announcements.

Keep checking back. This is being continuously updated.

USCG: Cruise ships/crew numbers near Florida

The US Coast Guard estimated there are currently more than 35 cruise ships with 35,000 crew members aboard in US territorial waters around Florida. (For numbers estimated in or near all US ports/territorial waters, see earlier story.)

Crystal Endeavor debut delayed

Crystal Expedition Cruises postponed the launch of Crystal Endeavor sailings through Oct 31. This follows the temporary closure of MV Werften, which halted production to protect employees during the COVID-19 pandemic.

Instead of debuting in August, Crystal Endeavor is now scheduled for a Nov. 14 maiden voyage, the 14-night 'Tasmania & Fjords of New Zealand.' Crystal is reaching out to passengers and their travel advisors with rebooking options.

Crystal Cruises Australia a victim of COVID-19

Crystal Cruises has decided to close its Sydney regional office, following a review of its business around the world to ensure it will weather the coronavirus pandemic. SVP and MD Australasia Karen Christensen said the decision was made ‘with deep regret.'

The operation, including sales and marketing, will transfer to Genting Cruise Lines’ team in Sydney under the direction of Michael Goh, president of Dream Cruises and head of international sales for Genting Cruise Lines.

Christensen will remain with the company for 90 days to assist with the transition.

The Sydney office of Crystal was opened just over three years ago after being represented in Australia by Wiltrans International.

Costa delays further

Costa Cruises extended the suspension of its sailings until May 30.

Fred. Olsen fleet anchored in Scotland’s Firth of Forth

Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines has secured anchorage for its four ships in the Port of Rosyth in Scotland’s Firth of Forth. Balmoral, Boudicca, Braemar and Black Watch are scheduled to be there until May 23.

'Each ship will retain a small team on board to continue essential operations, and locals might see the ships move within the river from time to time to carry out their duties,' said Peter Deer, managing director, Fred. Olsen Cruise Lines.

'We are pleased to be able to help our valued cruise line customer Fred. Olsen at this difficult time for the industry,' said Robert Mason, head of cruise for Capital Cruising, which operates the Port of Rosyth. He noted all four ships are regular callers.

Uruguay's 'humanitarian corridor' for Greg Mortimer

Uruguay's Ministry of Foreign Affairs coordinated with the ministries of public health, defense, interior, transport/public works and economy/finance to create a 'humanitarian corridor' for the safe evacuation of 112 Australians and New Zealanders from Greg Mortimer.

As previously reported, the passengers will be flown to Melbourne, Australia, in a specially equipped chartered aircraft with medical personnel on board.

Greg Mortimer is to dock Friday evening at Montevideo's Pier D to disembark people onto buses that will travel by police escort to the airport. Immigration procedures will be carried out digitally. The buses will go directly onto the tarmac, along with luggage, to minimize contact. The flight is scheduled for 1:30 a.m. local time Saturday.

Zaandam/Rotterdam latest

Holland America Line's Zaandam departed Port Everglades after 29 people moved from there to Rotterdam on Tuesday. Rotterdam now has 53 passengers and contract service staff on board, and flights are being finalized to get them home.

Zaandam will undergo cleaning and a 14-day self-quarantine, in line with US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requirements.

HAL is working on ship details until operations can resume. Some crew will stay to maintain safe operations. The line is working to get the others home. Until then, they'll remain on board.

CTO campaign aims to keep Caribbean dreams alive

The Caribbean Tourism Organisation Chapter UK & Europe launched a #CaribbeanDreaming campaign to keep travellers' dreams of the Caribbean alive.

‘#CaribbeanDreaming offers us an opportunity to lift spirits and help travellers plan their next holiday, when the time is right,' said Colin Pegler, chairman of the CTO UK Chapter.

By following Facebook, Twitter or Instagram, travellers can find online events, videos and blog posts showcasing activities such as yoga by the beach, cocktail-making master classes and reggae and soca dance sessions.

Caribbean stakeholders are invited to use the #CaribbeanDreaming hashtag, which will be shared across social platforms in the eight-week campaign.