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A cruise ship had an arrest warrant waiting in Miami. So it took passengers to the Bahamas

A cruise ship heading to Miami changed course to the Bahamas Saturday after a US judge issued an arrest warrant for the ship due to unpaid fuel bills.

If the Crystal Symphony had continued course to Miami, it would have been seized by authorities. So it headed to Bimini instead, as USA Today first reported. The ship is still docked at the Bahama port, according to a cruise ship tracker.
The saga began Wednesday, when Peninsula Petroleum Far East filed a lawsuit in a South Florida federal court against Crystal Cruises, alleging it owed unpaid fuel bills totaling more than $4.6 million — of which $1.2 million is for Crystal Symphony specifically.
The Crystal Symphony photographed in May 2013.
On Thursday, a US judge issued an arrest warrant ahead of the ship’s scheduled Saturday arrival in Miami, meaning the ship would be seized by a US Marshal and court-appointed custodian.
Crystal Cruises said about 300 passengers were transferred by ferry on Sunday from Bimini, Bahamas, to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale, Fla. In a statement to the Associated Press, a spokesperson said that the ferry ride to hoka shoes Fort Lauderdale was “uncomfortable due to inclement weather.”
“This end to the cruise was not the conclusion to our guests’ vacation we originally planned for,” the cruise line said in a statement.
The cruise ship can hold up to 848 guests, though the total number of passengers on the ship is unknown.
Queen Mary 2 ocean liner won't return to New York after dropping off 10 Covid-positive passengers
Also on Wednesday, the day the lawsuit was filed, Crystal Cruises announced it was suspending operations for its ocean voyages through late April and its river cruises through May.
“Suspending operations will provide Crystal’s management team with an opportunity to evaluate the current state of business and examine various options moving forward,” the cruise line said in a statement.
The company’s two cruises currently in operation — one heading to Aruba and one bound for Argentina — will complete their voyages. Guests who have booked future trips will receive a full refund.
“This was an extremely difficult decision but a prudent one given the current business environment and recent developments with our parent company, Genting Hong Kong,” said Jack Anderson, Crystal’s president.

Norwegian Cruise Line cancels voyages on 8 ships

Norwegian Cruise Line's "Norwegian Pearl " returns to the Port of Miami in Miami, Florida, on January 5, 2022. - The cruise ship returned after only one day out at sea after several crew members tested positive for Covid-19. (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA / AFP) (Photo by CHANDAN KHANNA/AFP via Getty Images)

Norwegian Cruise Line has announced the cancellation of voyages on eight ships, citing “ongoing travel restrictions.”
A Norwegian Getaway cruise set to embark on a nine-day Caribbean itinerary was canceled “due to COVID related circumstances” on Wednesday, the same day it was scheduled to set sail.
The Norwegian Pearl returned to Miami on Wednesday after one day at sea, cutting short a voyage that was scheduled to return to Miami on January 14. Several Covid cases among the crew prompted the move, according to the red wing boots Miami Herald. Norwegian Pearl cruises with embarkation dates through January 14 are canceled.
Cancellations of cruises on Norwegian Sky, Pride of America, Norwegian Jade, Norwegian Star, Norwegian Sun and Norwegian Spirit were also announced on Wednesday.
Some of the cancellations affect sailings through dates in April. A full list of affected voyages is available online in Norwegian Cruise Line’s statement.
“Our first priority is the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we visit,” the statement reads.
Guests booked on affected sailings will receive automatic full refunds plus a certificate valid for a future cruise, Norwegian said.
The cruise line has a vaccination requirement for 100% of guests and crew and requires pre-embarkation testing for everyone, it noted in its cancellation notices.
Other cruise lines hit
The cancellations come as an increasing number of cruises have been affected as the Omicron variant of the coronavirus sweeps the world.
In Italy, 45 Covid positive passengers disembarked from the MSC Grandiosa vessel in the port of Genoa on Monday before the ship continued its voyage.
More than 3,000 cruise passengers were awaiting coronavirus testing in Hong Kong on Wednesday morning after nine people on board Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas were identified as close contacts of a positive Covid case.
CDC: Avoid cruising for now
On December 30, the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention increased the risk level for cruise ship travel to its highest level and said it should be avoided, regardless of vaccination status.
The move “reflects increases in cases onboard cruise ships since identification hey dude of the Omicron variant,” the CDC website says.
“Since the identification of the Omicron variant, there has been an increase in the number of Covid-19 cases among cruise passengers and crew reported to CDC. Additionally, there has been an increase in the number of cruise ships meeting the Covid-19 case threshold for CDC investigation,” the agency said.
Industry group Cruise Lines International Association expressed disappointment at the CDC’s elevated risk level.
“The decision by the CDC to raise the travel level for cruise is particularly perplexing considering that cases identified on cruise ships consistently make up a very slim minority of the total population onboard — far fewer than on land — and the majority of those cases are asymptomatic or mild in nature, posing little to no burden on medical resources onboard or onshore,” CLIA said in a statement last week.