A NSW Health statement has said that the passengers who are infected with COVID on the Coral Princess, likely contracted COVID before actually getting onboard.

The statement reads: “While a small number of passengers have been diagnosed with COVID-19 since boarding the Coral Princess, their infections were most likely acquired prior to boarding and they subsequently tested positive.

“The vast majority of COVID-19 cases on the ship are currently in crew members. All COVID-positive people are isolating and being cared for by the onboard medical team.”

The statement also confirmed that crew members would not be disembarking in Eden, where the ship ported yesterday, and passengers were requested to return a negative RAT before disembarking.

The ship will also be stopping for one day in Sydney. There are currently 118 confirmed cases of COIVD onboard, with 114 of those being crew members.

Despite the ongoing situation, it was all smiles this morning as the town enjoyed its first visit from a cruise ship in 27 months. 

Local artisans waited excitedly with their stalls and the welcome centre buzzed in anticipation as all 90,000 tonnes of Coral Princess greeted the coastal town.

The South Coast town has long been a beloved port for cruisers and local tourism businesses alike.

Destination specialist Natalie Godward wrote on Linkedin:  “987 Queenslanders explored Eden and the Sapphire Coast on our first cruise visit in 28 months.

“The town was vibrant, passengers were happy, our locals were happy and we all felt alive with cruise visitors again after such a long hiatus. And yes, Covid wasn’t absent from the conversation, but with strong health protocols in place from Carnival Australia and NSW Health the visit was not only safe, but it was also a huge success! 🛳

“Thank you Princess Cruises for including Eden in the itinerary, we look forward to welcoming you back next month. And thank you to our team, it’s great to be doing this all again with you!”

Earlier,  Cruise Eden held the first pre-cruise season information session since the pandemic struck.

“And what a turnout we had with the local community, all of whom are very excited about the return of cruise ships to the Port of Eden,” wrote Ms godward.