Westerdam passengers disembark in Cambodia

Frank and Marsha Milat are back home and feeling fine after their cruise ship has been linked to an case of coronavirus

Frank and Marsha Milat are back home and feeling fine after their cruise ship has been linked to an case of coronavirus

The 2,257 passengers and crew aboard a luxury cruise liner that was barred by many ports over fears it harbored the coronavirus will finally set foot on dry land, ending an ordeal that's gone on for nearly two weeks.

The navy frigate HTMS Bhumibol Adulyadej is seen from the MS Westerdam liner in waters off the Thai coast.

Locals come down to view the Westerdam cruise ship, owned by Holland America Line, docked at the port of Sihanoukville, Cambodia.

The ship's request to remain in Cambodia has been approved through next Monday.

"So it was a question of being really, really thankful to the Cambodian government and really, really relieved that we can go home", Stanley said.

Prime Minister Hun Sen agreed to let the Holland America Line vessel dock at the port of Sihanoukville after Thailand, Japan, Taiwan, the Philippines and Guam had barred the ship earlier.

Chamroeun said blood tests were done on 20 people due to reports that they had symptoms like typhoid and diarrhoea.

It said after disembarking, passengers would be transferred to Phnom Penh by charter flights and travel home afterwards.

Holland America said it had been assisted by United States embassies working through diplomatic channels, and thanked passengers and their families for their patience "during this two-week ordeal".

The ship has 650 Americans on board and has finally been allowed to dock in Cambodia today.

What happens next for the passengers remains uncertain.

The odyssey of the MS Westerdam saw it turned away by five places in Asia.

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"@HALcruises made a big mistake taking us into Hong Kong given the situation", passenger Stephen Hansen, of Vancouver, Canada, posted on social media.

The Cambodian Prime Minister last night said he would personally welcome the passengers on board. The Diamond Princess cruise ship, also owned by Carnival and which has been quarantined since arriving in Yokohama, Japan on February 3, now has 218 cases among its 3,500 passengers and crew.

Health problems they have due to the coronavirus not detected.

He said the Cambodian authorities were conducting screening that may take some time to complete, and this requires patience and cooperation.

"We're disappointed that we haven't been able to visit the countries we expected to", she tells TIME.

The fate of the Westerdam is in sharp contrast to the Diamond Princess, a cruise ship quarantined off Japan where more than 200 people gave been infected by the virus. Samples from those passengers have been transported by a military helicopter to be tested for the novel coronavirus.

Another cruise ship was quarantined for several days off Hong Kong, because a previous guest had been diagnosed with the virus.

"It is important that every organization acts responsibly, and we have already taken aggressive steps to minimize risk through boarding restrictions and itinerary changes", CEO Richard Fain said in a statement. Fears of the novel coronavirus (now officially known as COVID-19) has prompted four different nations and the USA territory of Guam to deny them entry despite no one on board being diagnosed with the illness that has caused global panic.

That leaves only 22 of the 33 Covid-19 cases registered in Thailand so far still in hospitals, Disease Control Department's chief Suwannachai Wattanayingcharoenchai said yesterday.

"We also would like to extend our sincerest thanks to all of Westerdam's guests, crew and their loved ones for their patience, support and positive attitude during this two-week ordeal", added Kruse. While guests have been tested continuously for the virus, Muth said everybody is being tested again before being allowed on dry land.

Jackie Roos, 61, is aboard the Westerdam with her partner, daughter and two other families.

Health experts have also cleared 587 suspected cases after finding majority were suffering influenza.

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