Home > ALL POSTS > Nightmare at sea: Holland American Line forces elderly passengers to get off the MS AMSTERDAM halfway across the globe!
Nightmare at sea: Holland American Line forces elderly passengers to get off the MS AMSTERDAM halfway across the globe!

Nightmare at sea: Holland American Line forces elderly passengers to get off the MS AMSTERDAM halfway across the globe!

Hundreds of American passengers thought they were in for the cruise of their lives when they boarded Holland America’s MS Amsterdam at Port Everglades on January 4, 2020, Around The World Cruise. 

  • That was before the novel coronavirus sparked a worldwide crisis that has thrown the travel industry into unprecedented upheaval.

From top left clockwise: Orlando Ashford, President Holland America Line; MS Amsterdam Captain Jonathan Mercer; MS Amsterdam; Stein Kruse CEO Holland America Line & Carnival UK.

Passengers aboard the Amsterdam learned they would be forced off the ship nearly two months early — not in Fort Lauderdale where they started, but on the other side of the globe in Perth – Fremantle, Australia on March 22.

  • Yes, the COVID-19 crisis has taken us all by surprise. And yes, the economic fallout will be extraordinary. But why are so many companies already in such grave trouble? The answer is excessive leverage. The three largest cruise companies—Carnival, Norwegian, and Royal Caribbean—have liabilities of $47.5 billion and engaged in share repurchases of $8 billion. And they are asking for a bailout!

MS Amsterdam sailing into Fremantle Harbor, Perth, Australia this morning.


  • Cruise Lines call the passengers “guests,” which is utterly ridiculous. They are paying passengers, and Holland-America has failed to serve them with any concern or diligence. When you pay for a cruise, you receive a passage contract. Read it. It’s written by shifty company lawyers to see the “guest” aka passengers is screwed when trying to receive any fair benefits from the cruise line. 
  • Holland-America Line is charging passengers $59 US Dollars which is $105 Australian dollars for a transfer from Fremantle to Perth Airport. The outrageous fee compared to an Uber or Taxi is $20 US Dollars or about $37 Australian Dollars.


Once off the boat, they’ll be on their own to find ways to fly back home — and they’re not happy about it at all.

  • The ship’s captain has asked the restive passengers to stop visiting the ship’s Guest Services desk with documentation and requests to remain on board and to stop visiting the Medical Department because the medical staff feels “intimidated.” Most of these ships don’t have American doctors.
  • A spokeswoman for Holland America, meanwhile, said the company evaluated returning the ship to the U.S. but determined “it is not a safe option.”
  • Holland America Line like Cunard Line, P&O and Princess Cruises were great cruise and steamship lines until they fill into the hands of Micky Aronson and his Carnival Corp operation.

LOVE BOAT theme is now being called THE BUG BOAT. Take a look at this hilarious video.


Georgina and Humberto Cruz are veteran cruisers, and Georgina is a freelance travel writer who frequently posts blog entries about their adventures on Holland America’s website.

  • Yet Georgina Cruz’s latest dispatch was delivered not to the cruise line’s website, but to the South Florida Sun-Sentinel, where both worked before retiring.
  • “Holland America is forcing Amsterdam guests to disembark far away from home and take multiple flights adding up to 30 plus hours,” she wrote, adding that the ordeal could be “a serious threat to their health and may even kill some of them.”
  • Holland America, along with all Carnival Corp cruise lines, all operate non-USA flagships, suspended its operations late last week to help global efforts to delay the spread of the coronavirus.
  • Most of Amsterdam’s passengers are in their 70s, 80s, and 90s, Georgina Cruz wrote. Many opt to travel by cruise ship rather than by plane because plane travel could aggravate preexisting conditions, such as COPD, eardrum problems, or a propensity to get blood clots.

Holland America, owned by Carnival Corp., is providing “some compensation for air (travel), though not enough to cover costs to fly back home, and telling guests to make their own arrangements,” Georgina Cruz wrote.

  • While no cases of coronavirus have been reported aboard the ship, the soon-to-be stranded passengers fear they will be more vulnerable to infection if forced to fly home, she wrote.

“We are talking about the stress and strain of long flights without the best of air ventilation, the impact on many elderly and frail passengers of hours without sleep. The expected lengthy — and according to news reports, often chaotic — waits at airports and immigration and health checkpoints.

  • The uncertainty of whether flights would even be available or canceled after we are put off the ship., the effort of lugging carry-on bags for hours, then collecting multiple pieces of luggage (if indeed luggage can be taken) when we get home.”

The Crystal Serenity (middle cruise ship) ended their World Cruise today in Perth (Fremantle is the port). Passengers had to disembark. If they stayed, Crystal Cruise would only take them to Sri Lanka, Columbo, where they would have to disembark. 


Georgina Cruz said the couple had booked three flights to get back to Florida and hope, “all of them will get us there.”

Holland America Line press agent Sally Andrews.

  • Holland America publicity V.P. Sally Andrews, responding to a request for information about the Amsterdam decision, said by email that the effort to get guests off the company’s cruise ships and back home “grows more challenging by the day.” Andrews said the cruise line is grateful that Australia granted permission to allow the vessel to disembark thereafter the nation announced it was halting cruise ship arrivals.
  • She added, “Returning to the U.S. with “guests” onboard was evaluated, but it is not a safe option.” Holland America was obviously concerned about the cruise line and not the passengers.


  • Cruise Lines call the passengers “guests,” which is utterly ridiculous. They are paying passengers, and Holland-America has failed to serve them with any concern or diligence. 

Andrews continued: “The ship’s path is remote, and countries and islands are not accepting cruise ships.


MS Amsterdam is a midsize ship with a three-story atrium and can accommodate up to 1,300 paying passengers. Holland America Line offers no discount for seniors and their 5 Star Mariner program has cut benefits since CEO Ashford took over. He had no experience in cruising and was the former head of personnel. 

On Tuesday, Amsterdam’s captain, Jonathan Mercer, asked passengers by email to stop agitating to stay on board past the planned debarkation in Australia and to “please cease visiting the Medical Department.”


  • “Please do not submit any requests or documentation to Guest Services. We very much regret having to make this decision, the health and safety of our guests are of paramount importance. Unfortunately, matters have become such that Medical staff, bound by their Hippocratic Oath, feel intimidated.”

Although these cruise companies might be based in the USA, their ships don’t fly the American flag and are not protected by USA laws.

Micky Arison and his problems with the Costa Concordia. His problems are going to be mammoth this year.

  • They are run, this includes Holland America Line, by Carnival Corp. Carnival, a cheap operation, was the company that owned the ill-fated Costa Concordia, and their owner Micky Aronson did nothing to deal with that tragedy. 
  • Aronson is an Israeli-American businessman and chairman of Carnival Corp, the world’s largest cruise operator.
  • America, until the 1970s, had its own passenger ships, including the S.S. United States along with such companies as Matson Lines, Grace Lines, American Export Lines, American President Lines, Alcoa Lines, Alaska Lines, etc. These companies were American run and operating with American crews.  There were never any virus outbreaks on these great American ships.

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