COVID-19: Holiday Displeasure Cruises
Major cruise lines quarantine guests amid onboard COVID spike. Guests upset. Some get refunds, some get bingo tickets.
Fort Lauderdale, FL – Boca Post (BocaPost.com) — Three major cruise lines departing Miami and Fort Lauderdale this week, to spite their best efforts, are reporting COVID-19 positive cases and quarantines on board amid an nationwide outbreak of the COVID-19 variant Omicron.
With Omicron surging and redefining the word ‘breakthrough’ and forcing health officials to redefine what it means to be fully vaccinated, cruise lines have had a challenging time continuing normal operations since the pandemic started.
This week, 3 major cruise lines out of South Florida have reported COVID-19 positive cases.
Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey Of The Seas – 55 cases
The ship currently has 55 confirmed COVID-19 total cases including only 3 passengers and 52 crew members. With a total of 1.1% infection rate of the total onboard community, The Royal Caribbean Odyssey Of The Seas will skip it’s two scheduled ports in Curacao and Aruba due to the ‘high case count’.
It is said that all of the infected individuals are fully vaccinated and currently only mildly symptomatic or completely asymptomatic.
The cruise ship left Fort Lauderdale for it’s originally planned 8 night voyage on Saturday (12/18/21) and will return to Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday (12/26/21).
Carnival’s Freedom – 55 cases
Carnival Freedom is also reporting 55 cases on their ship with a total sailing community of 3,602. Carnival says that all of the 55 individuals are fully vaccinated as well. The Carnival Freedom embarked from Miami on Saturday (12/19/21) and has since been denied entry to Bonaire and Aruba due to the onboard COVID infections. The Carnival Freedom will disembark back in Miami on Saturday (12/26/21).
The ship was able to stop in Curacao and is planned to be able to stop in Amber Cove, Dominican Republic today.
Captain Mario Imbimbo has sent several letters to passengers in an attempt to keep them updated. Still, many passengers are complaining that they have been left in the dark about the whole situation. One letter, dated 12/22/21, from the Captain reads:
Dear Carnival Freedom Guest,
As a follow up to my announcement this morning, I want to apologize again that we were unable to make our call in Bonaire. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant impacts how destinations are responding to even a small number of cases. Unfortunately, officials in Aruba have also now notified us that guests will not be able to disembark and some of you may have noticed that we have changed course. Our team is working to identify alternative port options and will share that information as soon as it is confirmed.
We know these unexpected changes are disappointing and impact your cruise vacation, however, we trust you will understand this is outside our control.
A US$100, per stateroom, onboard credit will be posted to your Sail & Sign account to help you enjoy the ship these next two days. Carnival shore excursions for Bonaire and Aruba will be refunded to your Sail & Sign account.
As a reminder, we have strict protocols in place to keep everyone healthy and safe and are committed to ensuring the remainder of your cruise is fun and memorable. Please remember to wear your mask in all interior venues of the ship and outside when you cannot maintain physical distance from others not in your traveling party.
Captain Mario Imbimbo
One passenger, known on Twitter as @AshleyGetsAround, has been sharing her frustrations with the Twittersphere. She has posted an image of a closed door indicating that 1/3 of the floor is sealed off. It appears they have quarantined part of the floor she was on.
Ashley also reports on Twitter that the cruise line announced that they are giving everyone a ‘free bingo card’ for a chance to win a free 8 day cruise.
My floor is now blocked off due to covid cases. 1/3 of the floor, both sides blocked. To their credit I asked to be moved off this floor and they are accommodating that. #covidcruise pic.twitter.com/ExPqU4zgTK
— Ashley Gets Around (@ashleygetsround) December 22, 2021
Another guest is calling the trip a ‘nightmare’ after being quarantined for COVID-19 she reports she doesn’t even know how she is going to fly home.
More people in our Facebook group have voluntarily posted about testing positive today on the ship. @CarnivalCruise definitely has more covid cases than Royal and MSC. Now deck 1 and deck 2 have the front part of the ship blocked off. #covidcruise pic.twitter.com/z3X7oP3u2Z
— Ashley Gets Around (@ashleygetsround) December 24, 2021
MSC Cruises’ Seashore – 28 cases
MSC reporting that the MSC Seashore had 28 fully vaccinated guests and crew members on board before they disembarked passengers from their 5 day cruise in Miami on Thursday (12/23/21).
MSC has reminded passengers to continue to wear masks indoors unless eating or drinking. and encouraged that everyone practice social distancing. The ship provided free COVID-19 testing to guests who volunteered to be tested.
Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 – 10 cases
Also reported this week was that the Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 arrived in New York City on Monday (12/20/21) with 10 infected passengers out of the 1,473 that were on board. The COVID-19 positive cases were said to have been detected by ‘routine testing’. Most of the passengers on this 7 day cruise of the trans-Atlantic voyage came from the UK. The Queen Mary 2 will return to New York City on January 3rd before it’s voyage back to the UK.
“Cunard’s Queen Mary 2 cruise ship arrives in New York City with 10 passengers with COVID”, USATODAY. https://www.usatoday.com/story/travel/cruises/2021/12/21/passengers-covid-transatlantic-cunard-cruise/8987956002/
“More cruise ships report Covid cases as omicron surges”, TravelWeekly.
“Carnival Freedom hit with COVID-19 outbreak, third South Florida cruise ship disrupted by virus”, Miami Herald.