Norwegian Dawn Docks in Mauritius After Being Held for Health Check

Norwegian Dawn
Norwegian Dawn was permitted to dock after the health check (file photo of San Juan arriving)

Published Feb 26, 2024 12:38 PM by The Maritime Executive

The Norwegian Dawn cruise ship docked at Port Louis, Mauritius late on Monday, February 26, after being held offshore for nearly 48 hours while the local authorities performed health tests on a few sick passengers. The Ministry of Health and Well-being in Mauritius said it was a precautionary step “in order to avoid any health risks,” but it was widely covered by the media hearkening back to the 2020 issues around COVID-19.

The Director of Health Services, Dr. Bhooshan Ori, told the media on Monday afternoon that the testing was negative and there were no health problems aboard the cruise ship. He responded to the media speculations confirming “No cases of cholera have been detected on the Norwegian Dawn.”

The cruise ship operated by Norwegian Cruise Line headquartered in Florida was completing a 12-day cruise that began in Cape Town, South Africa. Built in 2002, the 92,250 gross ton cruise ship has a capacity for 2,340 passengers (double occupancy) and has 1,026 crewmembers. She is completing a season of African cruises and is due to begin repositioning to Europe.

The current cruise was ending in Port Louis where approximately 2,000 of the 2,184 passengers aboard were scheduled to disembark. An additional 2,279 passengers had traveled to Mauritius by air due to embark on the cruise ship.

The Norwegian Dawn arrived at Mauritius around 6:00 p.m. on Saturday, February 24 ahead of schedule. She had made a port stop in Madagascar and was due to stop in Reunion but according to the local media reports the cruise ship was turned away from Reunion continuing to Port Louis. As is normal with all arriving cruise ships, a health declaration was filed which in this case declared that approximately 15 passengers according to the cruise line were experiencing mild symptoms resembling gastroenteritis. 

Initially, a doctor, nurses, and a health inspector boarded the cruise ship on Saturday and on Sunday a team returned to take samples for testing. The 15 passengers were in isolation while the testing was ongoing. The fear of cholera might have come from reports of recent cases in South Africa but they were also investigating if the people might have eaten something in Madagascar or have come in contact with a virus either on the cruise or on shore.

Norwegian Cruise Line reports the passengers awaiting the start of their cruise were being accommodated in local hotels and they will now board the cruise ship on Tuesday, two days behind schedule. They are being given $200 compensation in onboard credit per stateroom for the inconvenience.

The Health Authority confirmed that the ban had been lifted and the Mauritian authorities were preparing to welcome the Norwegian Dawn and her passengers.