Carnival passengers say they were denied boarding due to existing conditions

Mobile County

MOBILE, Ala. (WKRG) — The Carnival Fantasy took off early Friday morning after hours of delays due to fog. But some people scheduled to board say they were not allowed on the ship because of a new provision regarding coronavirus.

The customers, many who came from other states, say they were not allowed to board because of underlying health issues, including diabetes.

“It’s just sad because there’s nothing we can do about it,” said Ashley Maynor, who was one of many who were told they couldn’t board the ship due to underlying health issues.

Maynor says she and her group came from Illinois to cruise out of Mobile, she says they weren’t told they couldn’t board because of the underlying health issue until 9:30 p.m. and weren’t given a hotel room until at least 7 hours later. She had six people in her group, four didn’t get on the ship, two did. She says those two tried to get off the ship, but couldn’t because of long lines at the guest services desks.

“We did typical protocol, got our luggage out, went through security, everything was good to go. Come to find out that they tagged 80 passengers on the boat and they knew from this morning or yesterday morning that those passengers were not going to be allowed to board,” said Maynor.

The ship left after midnight.

She says she was one of the dozens turned away because of some new guidelines from the cruise line in response to COVID-19 concerns. One person in her party has diabetes, and she says they couldn’t leave her behind.

“We just go on our merry way. We go back home, not much else we can do,” said Maynor.

Carnival released new coronavirus guidelines earlier this month, saying that passengers who recently traveled to China would not be allowed to board the ship. Extra steps have been taken to sanitize the ship, and passengers are being screened before boarding.

Carnival responded to an inquiry about this Friday morning, saying they added new questions to their health screening forms. Guests are now asked if they are 70 years or older, if they have been hospitalized over the past two months, or if they have underlying health issues like diabetes, heart, kidney, or lung disease. And now, guests with chronic health issues are not allowed to sail.

Mayor tells News 5 she saw dozens of passengers be turned away because of pre-existing health issues because of what she says was a new policy that went into effect at midnight Friday.

Maynor says they are now headed back home instead of to Mexico. She says they were not concerned about still going on the cruise with someone who has a pre-existing condition, but she does understand why Carnival made the changes.

“There should have been a little bit more time to implement it,” said Maynor.

The cruise line sent us this statement Friday morning:

Carnival Cruise Line has added new questions to its health screening form completed by all embarking guests fleetwide which are consistent with the industry discussions with federal officials.

The questions include asking guests if they are age 70 or older, if they have been hospitalized in the past two months for or if they have a history of chronic or severe medical conditions.  The CDC defines chronic conditions as an illness persisting for a long time or constantly recurring, such as diabetes, heart, kidney or lung disease. Additional severe medical conditions include: suppressed immunity (active cancer, taking steroids) or if the person requires oxygen for any reason. Guests with chronic or severe medical conditions will not be allowed to sail.

Additionally, for this weekend’s departures, guests 70 years of age or older will not be allowed to sail, unless they have a letter from their physician confirming they are fit to sail.

We apologize for the disappointment of our guests. These are extraordinary times and the requirements placed on us are changing by the hour and advance notice isn’t always possible.

Carnival Cruise Lines

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