The controversial cruise ship that was Australia’s largest single source of coronavirus infections departed from the country on Thursday.
According to the Associated Press, Princess Cruises’ Ruby Princess is currently under investigation after it was linked to 19 deaths caused by the viral pandemic in Australia and two in the United States.
The Australian government is trying to determine how around 2,700 passengers and crew members were permitted to leave the ship in March despite the results of coronavirus tests not being known yet.
The Ruby Princess was originally asked to leave the country by local authorities, but was forced to delay its departure from Port Kembla near Sydney due to a coronavirus outbreak among crew members that left several dead.
As the vessel departed with a skeleton crew, it displayed a large banner strung across its stern that said “Thank You Illawarra,” which is the coastal region where the ship had been docked.
Princess Cruises has not revealed where the ship is scheduled to dock next.
Police are investigating the management team of the Ruby Princess for possibly downplaying the extent of the coronavirus outbreak on board, which gave local authorities the confidence needed to allow passengers to disembark.
Health officials revealed all crew members on the ship have tested negative for the virus.
As a result of the worldwide travel restrictions, Princess Cruises is offering two cancellation options. Guests who paid in full will receive a future cruise credit equivalent to the cruise fare paid and, as an added incentive, an additional 25 percent credit.
Travelers must use their credits on a cruise that sails on or before May 1, 2022.
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