Watch CBS News

MSC Cruise Ship Returns To Miami After Security Staff Pepper-Sprays Unruly Guests

MIAMI (CBSMiami) -- A brawl erupted on a MSC cruise ship which had been denied permission to dock in several Caribbean ports this week over fears of coronavirus.

Passengers on MSC Meraviglia say an unruly traveler was pepper sprayed. It happened during a heated moment when hundreds had cabin fever on what was meant to be 7 days of relaxation in the Caribbean.

The cruise ship, with roughly 6-thousand people, arrived at PortMiami Sunday. The cruise line's executive vice president, Ken Muskat, says there was a health scare but he believes it went overboard.

"There was no concern. No relation to coronavirus at all. But unfortunately Jamaica decided to take it upon themselves to not allow us to disembark," Muskat said.

Muskat says a crewmember had flu-like symptoms. They alerted Jamaican leaders and the island did not allow travelers on land.  Next, Muskat says Grand Cayman turned them away before arrival.

"This was all based on fear, which is very unfortunate. This sent a bad message for the industry and for the Caribbean islands," Muskat said.

Passengers and crew eventually docked in Cozumel, Mexico. However, they still could not leave the ship until Mexican authorities had test results.

"Unfortunately it took about ten or twelve hours to get the results back. So, we were not able to disembark in Cozumel on the first day. But we were able to stay for a second day," he said.

It turns out, that crewmember was sick from Influenza-A, they learned Friday.

Muskat believes his crew followed proper protocol but since there is a heightened alert over coronavirus that has many people scared.

"Whenever there is a crew member or a guest who says they're sick, we report it to the authorities, we have them in the medical center, we have them quarantined if there are any issues, and we did not expect this to be different from any other cruise," he said.

After the most recent scare, Passengers on MSC Meraviglia received a $200 on board credit, 100% refund, and 20% off a future cruise.

This scare happened a day after people were sick because of norovirus on the Caribbean Princess. The shop returned to Port Everglades a day early Saturday.  In the middle of last month, that same ship was also forced to return to port for the same illness.

View CBS News In
CBS News App Open
Chrome Safari Continue
Be the first to know
Get browser notifications for breaking news, live events, and exclusive reporting.