A CARNIVAL Cruise Line ship, which anchored off Rhyll on Phillip Island earlier this year, subsequently became embroiled in a COVID-19 pandemic incident off Akaroa, near Christchurch in New Zealand in March.

A ‘Grand-class Cruise Ship’ capable of accommodating 2600 passengers and 1100 crew members, the majestic Golden Princess graced the waters of Westernport on Wednesday, January 29, four days after the first coronavirus case appeared in Australia.

Although where and when the ship picked up its COVID-19 carriers is anyone’s guess, not from the passengers anyway, or so it appears.

The ship was exclusively plying its trade between Australia; including Kangaroo Island, Tasmania and Melbourne, and New Zealand from the start of January until February 29 when it visited Noumea and Suva.

On March 15, one of three passengers quarantined aboard the Golden Princess, docked at Akaroa on the Banks Peninsula, near Christchurch, was reported as displaying COVID-a9 symptoms, according to a Canterbury health official.

The other two had been in contact with the patient in the past two weeks.

The Golden Princess was scheduled to come and go from Phillip Island between 7am and 11pm on January 29, headed for Melbourne and ultimately the Fjordland National Park in New Zealand on February 2.

Passengers pursued a range of interests on the day, some visiting the famous penguin parade.

The Golden Princess, which is owned by Carnival and operated by Princess Cruises, had her maiden voyage in 2001. At 290 metres long, she is the largest of the four ships to visit Phillip Island in January.

Others included the Seven Seas Voyager Cruise Ship, arriving at Rhyll on Friday, January 10 (706 passengers and 447 crew), the MS Maasdam Cruise Ship January 3 (1528 passengers and 580 crew) and the MS Regatta Cruise Ship January 2 as part of a 35-day Sydney to Sydney cruise.

The coronavirus pandemic was confirmed to have reached Australia on January 25, 2020 in Victoria, when a man returning from Wuhan, Hubei, China, was tested positive for the virus.