Two cruise ships will dock in Fort Lauderdale after all, after having been denied entry at other ports around the world. On Tuesday, the plight of Holland America cruise liners Zaandam and Rotterdam captured the attention of the country when Donald Trump declared that Florida and the US could not just allow the two to become “ghost ships.”

Prior to that, Florida governor Ron DeSantis had balked at having new coronavirus cases introduced into Florida’s health-care system. Last night, DeSantis had a change of heart — regarding Floridians on the ships, anyway:

“My concern is that we have worked so hard to make sure we have adequate hospital space in the event of a Covid-19 surge, we wouldn’t want those valuable beds to be taken because of the cruise ship,” DeSantis said.

There are 808 guests and 583 crew on the Rotterdam and 442 guests and 603 crew on the Zaandam, according to Holland America. There are 311 American citizens, including 52 Floridians.

DeSantis expressed concerns about taking in others given the state’s limited hospital beds.

“We are going to be willing to accept Floridians on board,” he told reporters. “My understanding is most of the passengers are foreign nationals.”

The decision wasn’t DeSantis’ to make, however, but the Broward County Commission’s. NBC News reported this morning that a deal had been reached between the commission and Carnival, Holland America’s corporate parent, that will allow most of the passengers on the two ships to disembark. Foreign nationals will not go to local facilities but instead will get immediately transported to chartered aircraft to take them home:

A Holland America cruise ship with sick passengers and its sister ship will be allowed to dock in Florida, sources tell NBC News.

It was expected that the Broward County Commission in Fort Lauderdale would vote on whether to allow the Zaandam and Rotterdam ships to dock, but sources say a deal has been reached for them to land Thursday.

The Rotterdam is scheduled to dock at 1 p.m. at Port Everglades, and the Zaandam at 1:30 p.m.

“I have more hope right now than I’ve had in a long time,” said Jennifer Allan, whose parents, Gloria and Bill Weed, are on the Zaandam, told NBC News.

There’s a wrinkle to this, however. A third ship, the Coral Princess, is now also approaching Florida and hopes to disembark sick passengers in Fort Lauderdale. The Coast Guard says that ships registered outside the US must return to home ports:

The Coast Guard is now directing ships registered in the Bahamas to seek aid from that country first, even if the ships are owned by U.S.-based companies. The agency simply can’t keep up with the strain on its resources, according to a public memo.

The Coast Guard says ships carrying more than 50 persons on board should prepare to care for those aboard with influenza-like illnesses “for an indefinite period of time” rather than relying on the Coast Guard to evacuate sick passengers.

Princess Cruises’ Coral Princess has a “higher-than-normal” number of people with flu-like symptoms and plans to bring them to Port Everglades on April 4 following a service call in Bridgetown, Barbados, on Tuesday night, the cruise line said in a statement released Tuesday.

“Many” of the sick passengers have tested positive for regular influenza, the statement said, adding, “However, given the concern surrounding COVID-19 and out of an abundance of caution, guests have been asked to self-isolate in their staterooms and all meals will now be delivered by room service.”

Should the US allow the Coral Princess to dock, and is it wise to allow the two other ships to come to port today? Of course, Dr. Anthony Fauci told CBS This Morning earlier today. The humanitarian cost of doing otherwise is just too great:

Trump had that same impulse on Tuesday. The humanitarian and political cost of having those ships produce bodies while off American shores is higher than dealing with them ASAP and clearing out the foreign nationals. As long as the disembarkation process includes lots and lots of mitigation and “distancing,” the humanitarian and political benefits outweigh the costs.

And fortunately, there aren’t more than a handful of cruise ships still sailing at the moment. This particular problem will come to an end shortly, which we can’t say for most of our other problems.