VOA News By Fern Robinson

The long journeys of two cruise ships that experienced COVID-19 outbreaks are finally coming to an end in Florida.

The Zaandam and Rotterdam were docked in Port Everglades on Thursday when at least 13 passengers and one crew member were transported to local hospitals to be treated for the coronavirus.

Other virus-stricken passengers and crew remained on board.

Florida Governor Ron DeSantis did not want the ships to dock in Florida, at first thinking the sick people on the ship would further tax the southern U.S. state’s virus outbreak capabilities, but he eventually had a change of heart.

On Friday, the healthy and recovered passengers started leaving the ship to go home.  They were transported from the ship onto buses headed for the airport where they caught chartered flights home. More passengers are scheduled to leave the ships Saturday.

On Friday, some Floridians showed up at the dock.

“The people who came out to welcome the ships brought tears to the eyes of some of the ship,” one departing passenger said.