By Chris King • 28 December 2021 • 5:56
There are at least four cruise ships known to have had outbreaks of coronavirus on board this month, with cases among both crew and passengers. In the last week or so, three of these vessels have either been turned away from their ports of call, or have had passengers prohibited from disembarking.
Compared to March 2020, when cruising virtually ground to a standstill, the outbreaks are not as large. The worrying aspect though is that with all the time that cruise companies have had to study the best ways of combatting any virus outbreaks onboard their ships, whatever measures they have put in place, do not seem to be working perfectly.
All ships now generally require their employees to be vaccinated, and passengers are asked to show proof of vaccination before boarding. Tests are routinely carried out during the cruises as well. Despite these measures being implemented, Covid infections are still breaking out on them.
Last Wednesday, December 22, the Miami Herald reported that a ship belonging to the Royal Caribbean line, ‘Odyssey of the Seas’, had been prevented from entering the ports of Curacao, and Aruba. Apparently, 55 passengers and crew members, all presumably fully vaccinated, had tested positive for coronavirus.
A similar story occurred on Thursday 23, in the Mexican resort of Puerto Vallarta. Officials there stopped the Holland America Line’s ship, ‘MS Koningsdam’, from entering the port after 21 crew had positive Covid results.
This caused a huge problem for the cruise company, whose passengers had apparently paid for the shore excursion in the price of their trip, which included their Christmas dinner. The passengers ended up confined on the ship, which was subsequently believed to be heading back to its departure point of San Diego.
Speaking with CNN, a spokesperson for the Holland America Line claimed that the “small number of fully vaccinated crew” were displaying either mild, or no symptoms.
Colombian officials prevented any passengers from disembarking in the port of Cartagena when the ‘Seven Seas Mariner’ arrived. They reportedly had six crew, and one passenger on board, who had tested positive for Covid.
Carnival cruises, in a statement, confirmed last week that an undisclosed number of passengers and crew aboard the Carnival Freedom had tested positive. The ship was denied entry to Bonaire and Aruba.
Royal Caribbean’s ‘Symphony of the Seas’, with 6,000 passengers on board, earlier this month had 48 people test positive for the virus. No disruption was reported to the ship’s itinerary though, and it apparently docked into three islands. The 48 positives were discovered when the ship docked back in Miami.
According to the agency’s update on Monday 27, the US Centres for Disease Control and Prevention is now investigating or observing almost 70 cruise ships, following Covid outbreaks aboard the vessels.
There have not been any major incidents reported on cruise ships sailing in European waters yet, as reported by metro.co.uk.
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Originally from Wales, Chris spent years on the Costa del Sol before moving to the Algarve where he is a web reporter for The Euro Weekly News covering international and Spanish national news.
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