Fifteen (15) crew members on the Allure of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19 last week. The crew members and an undetermined number of close contacts were required to quarantine on the ship.

This inside information was provided from a Royal Caribbean crew member on this ship who prefers to remain anonymous.

This Royal Caribbean cruise ship which departed from Port Canaveral on Monday, is currently sailing on a “Western Caribbean Perfect Day itinerary.

Royal Caribbean requires its crew members on this ship to be fully vaccinated. This is another example of “breakthrough infections’ of already vaccinated crew members which has occured regularly on cruise ships lately.

The Allure of the Seas had her 2-night test cruise conducted on July 27th. The Royal Caribbean cruise ship sailed on her first revenue cruise, since the industry stopped sailing in March 2010, on August 8th. The ship has been sailing with passengers for a little over two months from Port Canaveral since then.

The color tracking system conducted by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) show that the Allure has been under the color yellow for the past several weeks. The yellow warning means that the CDC has investigated the presence of COVID-19 and the cruise ship “remains under observation.”

Some anti-vaxxers point to breakthrough infections of vaccinated individuals to suggest that vaccines are not effective. But the truth is that vaccinations are largely effective at preventing serious symptoms, hospitalizations, and deaths due to COVID-19.

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Allure of the Seas – top – Jorge in Brazil – common / wikimedia via Flickr; bottom –  Yanjipy – CC BY-SA 4.0 commons / wikimedia.

Four crew members on the Jewel of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19 last week. The Royal Caribbean cruise ship is currently sailing on an  itinerary around the Greek islands.

Last week, we reported that three crew members on the Jewel of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19.

This information, as well as our prior reports of COVID outbreaks on this particular cruise ship, are provided by an inside source of information (a reliable crew member who wishes to continue to remain anonymous).

Royal Caribbean requires its ship employees to be fully vaccinated. Most of the crew are vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Royal Caribbean is continuing to take aggressive steps to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases involving its crew members and guests on this ship after experiencing a higher than normal number of positive virus cases in the last several weeks.

The ship will be re-positioned to South Florida in mid-November where it will be sailing from Miami on a Western caribbean itinerary of cruises from five to ten days long. The ship will sail from Miami until mid-May of 2022 when it will then sail from Amsterdam. The company wishes to reduce the number of positive cases before it begins sailing out of U.S. waters where it will fall within the jurisdiction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the last month, we have learned that there were two one-week cruises involving a combined total of thirty-three positive COVID-19 cases. More specifically, on September 29th, we reported that there was a total of twenty-one cases involving guests on the ship a week earlier. Most recently (October 2nd), there were twelve guests who tested positive on the Jewel.

Five guests on the Jewel of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19, as we reported on September 18th.

The local media in Cyprus reported on prior COVID-19 cases on this ship. On August 9th, KNEWS in Cyprus reported that “six passengers on a cruise had tested positive for Covid, four vaccinated – three of them asymptomatic and one with mild symptoms- while two were unvaccinated minors.” On July 21st, KNEWS also reported that “two guests tested positive for Covid-19.”

In total, based on the local press and information from knowledgeable crew members on the ship, there have been at least fifty (50) guests and crew members who have tested positive for COVID-19 on the Jewel of the Seas in the last nine weeks. There are likely more cases than this, as there are at least a few positive crew members and guest COVID-19 cases during each and every cruise.

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Jewel of the Seas – Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.

Three crew members on the Jewel of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19 this week.  I received this additional information from a trusted crew member who wishes to continue to remain anonymous.  The infected crew members, which include the hotel maintenance manager, a cook and one stateroom attendant, were confirmed positive for the virus after PCR  testing. They were then sent into isolation.

Royal Caribbean is taking aggressive steps to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases involving its crew members and guests after experiencing a higher than normal number of positive virus cases in the last two weeks.

The ship will be re-positioned to South Florida in mid-November where it will be sailing from Miami on a Western caribbean itinerary of cruises from five to ten days long. The ship will sail from Miami until mid-May when it will then sail from Amsterdam. The company wishes to reduce the number of positive cases before it begins sailing out of U.S. waters where it will fall within the jurisdiction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the last month, we have learned that there were two one-week cruises involving a combined total of thirty-three positive COVID-19 cases. More specifically, on September 29th, we reported that there was a total of twenty-one cases involving guests on the ship a week earlier. Most recently (October 2nd), there were twelve guests who tested positive on the Jewel.

Five guests on the Jewel of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19, as we reported on September 18th.

The local media in Cyprus reported on prior COVID-19 cases on this ship. On August 9th, KNEWS in Cyprus reported that “six passengers on a cruise had tested positive for Covid, four vaccinated – three of them asymptomatic and one with mild symptoms- while two were unvaccinated minors.” On July 21st, KNEWS also reported that “two guests tested positive for Covid-19.”

In total, based on the local press and information from knowledgeable crew members on the ship, there have been at least forty-six (46) guests and crew members who have tested positive for COVID-19 on the Jewel of the Seas in the last two months. There are likely more cases than this, as there are at least a few positive crew members and guest COVID-19 cases during each and every cruise.

Royal Caribbean, of course, is one of several cruise lines which does not voluntarily release such information to the public.

Royal Caribbean has taken the following steps to reduce the number of positive COVID-19 cases during its latest cruise on the Jewel; 

  • All crew tours and crew “shore excursion observer programs” are cancelled. (Crew observer programs involve the use of crew members as escorts to monitor guest behavior during shore excursions);
  • Crew bar is closed;
  • All meetings in interior rooms are canceled; and
  • Santorini sail away party (for guests) is cancelled.

Unfortunately, there are essentially only two ways to obtain realistic information regarding the number of COVID-19 cases on cruise ships. “Whistle-blower” crew members who release data directly to us, despite facing the the risk of being terminated from their employment, are one reliable source of information. Employees of port authorities, who also face the same risk, are an equally important source. The second source are local newspapers, which sometimes also use unnamed sources.

In a video recently posted to YouTube, Royal Caribbean Group CEO Richard Fain said his company (which includes Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea) has experienced only a minimum number of positive COVID-19 cases. CEO Fain claimed: “We’ve carried over half-a-million guests, and only had 141 cases among those 500,000 people.”

Its hard to believe that such statistics are accurate when the Jewel of the Seas alone experienced at least forty-six guests who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two months alone.  Royal Caribbean has historically shown that it is far more transparent than most cruise lines, particularly companies like Carnival or MSC Cruises, but it seems that it too may be caught up in the “everything is okay” hype associated in last week’s Seatrade Cruise Global conference.

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Jewel of the Seas – top – Jemingway CC BY SA 2.0 via Flickr ; bottom – User:Dave Souza – CC BY-SA 2.5 commons / wikimedia.

Today, a popular video blogger, Gary Bembridge, mentioned cases of COVID-19 which are apparently on the Seabourn Ovation cruise ship which he is sailing on. The exact number of positive COVID cases are currently unknown. It is quite common for most cruise ships sailing today to experience breakthrough infections from a few to a dozen caases per cruise.

The Seabourn Ovation is currently sailing to a port in Cyprus. The cruise ship is currently on a two week cruise around the Greek Isles after leaving Piraeus, Greece on September 25, 2021.

Seabourn requires its guests to be vaccinated. Guests are required to have a negative PCR test at least three days before the cruise and a negative antigen test at the cruise terminal right before the cruise.

The company encourages Seabourn-organized shore excursions but permits its guests to go on independent shore excusions. It appears that guests left the cruise ship on excursions which were not under the control or protocols of Seabourn.  A copy of the company’s COVID protocols are here and here.

Seabourne is not the only cruise line sailing in the Agean Sea which is experiencing guests with breakthrough COVID infections. This weekend, we reported that in the last two weeks alone, Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas has at least thirty-three guests who have had breakthrough COVID infections. There were also positive COVID cases of six guests and two guests on prior cruises earlier this summer.

We reached out to Carnival, which owns this cruise ship, but have not received a response.

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Image credits: Kahvilokki – CC BY-SA 4.0 commons / wikimedia.

The Jewel of the Seas again is in our focus, as the Royal Caribbean cruise ship had another unusually high number of positive COVID-19 cases this week amongst its guests, according to a trusted crew member who wishes to remain anonymous. According to this crew member, yesterday twelve passengers tested positive for the virus using both antigen and PCR testing performed by Euofins Tesing Services. The crew member did not communicate any current information regarding the number of crew members who are currently infected with COVID-19.

Guests who tested positive for COVID-19 were transported by ambulances this morning, when the ship returned to its home port, to villas in Limassol for quarantine with insructions that they cannot fly home until and unless they test negaive for the virus. The ship again performed extensive sanitation for the incoming new passengers who boarded today.  The ship is sailing with a reduced guest capacity of around 1,100 guests.

There was a conference call between shoreside management in Miami and top shipboard managment this morning. Shoreside remains concerned with the relatively high number of COVID-19 cases on board the ship.  The ship still has four more cruises before making the upcoming transatlantic crossing to Miami.

One week ago there were twenty-one positive COVID-19 cases involving guests and two weeks before that there were five positive cases among the guests.

It is the policy of Royal Caribbean that guests ages 12 or older must be fully vaccinated in order to sail. All crew members are required to be vaccinated. Most crew members have received Astrazeneca injections.

The ship is currently departing from Limasoll, Cyrprus on a seven day cruise around the Greek Isles. Two guests were denied boarding earlier this morning after they tested positive per the PCR tesing at the terminal. Tomorrow the ship intends to test the occupants, of some twenty cabins on the ship, who took the same bus as the two infected guests.

Have a comment or a question? Please leave one below or join the discusson on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Top – Royal Caribbean; bottom – Dave Souza –  CC BY-SA 2.5 commons /  wikimedia.

Yesterday, travel writer and cruise fan Dave Monk (a/k/a Shipmonk) reported that “MSC Cruises Reported 21 Positive Covid Cases on Southampton Sailing Last Month” aboard the MSC Virtuosa.

This title is entirely misleading. The article itself is disingenius. First, the data shows that the Port of Southampton received at least thrity-three, not just twenty-one, reports of COVID-19 involving guests who disembarked in that port from the cruises which embarked on September 4th and 11th.  More importantly, the true number of shipboard COVID-19 infections which occured due to exposure of guests on the MSC Virtuosa involves at least 121 cabins (with some cabins with at least two and sometime three infected guests) (plus at least an additional twenty-five crew members) for a total of well over 200 people during these cruises, according to a private Facebook page created by those infected on the MSC cruise ship.

Shipmonk’s limited data apparently comes from the Southampton City Council via a Freedom of Information Act (FOIA) request. The data apparently shows only 25 infected crew members and only 8 infected guests during these cruises in Spetember. For example, the incomplete data Shipmonk wrote about does not include reports of COVID-19 involving cruise passengers who disembarked in other ports, including the port of Greenock, where at least thirty infected guests disembatked.

The data also does not include the majority of positive cases involving passengers who were sickened during the subject cruises and were tested after the cruises. Acording to the U.S. Centers for Disease Contol and Prevention (CDC), the incubation period for COVID-19 is 2 to 14 days after exposure. Considering the average cruise is only seven days, the majority of positive cases obviously did not become evident until after the infected passengers left the ship and returned home.

MSC Cruises has not made any reports or announcements to the general public as the Shipmonk article implies. In fact, the cruise line refuses to discuss the COVID-19 outbreak with the families of those infected, many of who have been admitted to hospital and are are continuing to struggle to breath.  As we have reported in prior articles, at least three people who contracted the virus on the MSC Virtuosa have died. A fourth person cruising last month also died although there is no clear indication that his death was directly related to acquiring COVID-19 during the cruises in question.

Several people pointed out on Twitter the misleading nature of the Shipmonk article, and further suggested that travel writers who are given complimentary cruises are suspectible to such type of inaccurate reporting:

If you have not followed the increasing number of COVID-19 cases on the MSC Virtuosa superspreader cruises, bring yourself up to speed by reviewing our prior articles about the largeset outbreak of cases on a cruise ship since February of 2020:

More COVID-19-Related Deaths and Major Illnesses After Super-Spreader Cruises on MSC Virtuosa

Passenger Dies After Super-Spreader COVID-19 Cruise on MSC Virtuosa

COVID-19 Aboard MSC Virtuosa

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Image credits: Top – Phil Nash Wikimedia Commons CC BY-SA 4.0 & GFDLViews; bottom – MSC Cruises.

A total of six cruise passengers aboard the Crystal Symphony tested positive for COVID-19, according to an article today in Bermuda’s major newspaper, the Royal Gazette. A  Ministry of Transport spokeswoman in Bermuda added that the passengers on the Crystal Symphony were given PCR testing “during the crossing from New York City to Bermuda.”

The newpaper reports that the infected passengers  remain on the island after they tested positive for coronavirus. The cruise ship is now returning to New York City. “A Ministry of Transport spokeswoman (initially) said five people on the Crystal Symphony were infected and stayed at a hotel with their immediate close contacts.” A Crystal Cruises representative added that “another guest received a positive result after further testing,” bringing the total to six infected guests.

The transport ministry spokeswoman in Bermuda noted: “All guests have a pre-departure PCR test taken as part of the Bermuda Travel Authorisation process and only negative PCR test result passengers may board the ship following a negative antigen test result conducted in the terminal by Crystal Cruises before embarkation in New York City.”

The spokeswoman stated that all crew and guests on the Crystal Symphony were fully vaccinated.

The cruise ship, which arrived on Sunday, remained in quarantine until the results were known early on Monday afternoon.

The guests who tested positive, as well as their close contacts, disembarked and transferred to a local quarantine hotel designated by Bermuda health authorities where they currently remain.

The newspaper article does not address the issue who will pay for the hotel and related expenses during the shoreside quarantine or the air flights back to New York City.

The six positive COVID-19 cases on this ship appear to be the “new normal” of sailing on cruise ships at this point during the pandemic. In addition to large outbreaks which are occuring more frequently, most cruise ships sailing today have at least a small number (2 to 10) of positive guests on each cruise.

The only issue is whether the public will learn of the positive cases, or the cruise line will be able to keep such basic information secret.

Most cruise lines continue to refuse to release any information about the number of positive cases of their guests and crew. The public is largely dependent on local newspapers reporting shipboard cases or the rare occasions when concerned crew members provide information from the ships.

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Image credits: Top – Bahnfrend – CC BY-SA 4.0 commons / wikimedia; bottom – Royal Gazette / Blaire Simmons.

Twenty-one (21) guests aboard the Jewel of the Seas were positive after antigen testing last week, according to a trusted crew member on the ship, who wishes to stay anonymous. Five (5) guests were positive upon additional PCR testing.  Two guests were symptomatic and received treatment in the onboard medical facility. Four guests left the cruise ship via ambulances at the end of the cruise.

The tests were taken on Friday, September 24th, on the last day of the seven night cruise from Limassol, Cyprus around the Greek islands.

The Royal Caribbean cruise ship carried around 1,100 passengers during the cruise.

The infected guests disembarked the ship in Limassol, Cyprus on Saturday, September 25th. On the same day, the ship departed on the next cruise to Rhodes Island, Greece. The ship was  in Mykonos on Monday and Piraeus yesterday, and is calling on Santorini Island today. The ship is reportedly at level MAX 1, which involves enhanced sanitizing during this cruise. It is scheduled to return to Limassol this weekend.

When infections occur on this particular itinerary, the cruise line is required to report the cases to health authorities in Cyprus. The theory is that the ship is required to be in compliance with EU public health standards.

All crew members are required to be vaccinated. Most crew members have received Astrazeneca injections.

It is the policy of Royal Caribbean that guests ages 12 or older must be fully vaccinated in order to sail.

This same cruise ship on a prior cruise two weeks ago had five guests who tested positive for COVID-19, as we reported on September 18th. These prior cases involved breakthrough infections as well. The crew member informed me that the twenty-one positive results represent a “record” number of cases for this ship. “Usually there are only 2 or 3 cabins with positive test results.”

Most cruise ships sailing today are experiencing some number of breakthrouh infections of vaccinated guests or crew members. There are many Royal Caribbean ships as well as literally dozens of other cruise ships which have experienced a relatively small number of positive cases (from a few to around eight or so).

Certain cruise lines, particularly Carnival and MSC Cruises, are consistently refusing to disclose the number of infected passengers and crew members on their ships. In my view, it is important to report whenever there are positive cases duting a cruise, particlarly when there is a significant outbreak. Families deserve 100% transparency in considering risks to their health and safety when deciding to travel.

Meanwhile, at the annual cruise trade association conference, Seatrade Cruise Global, the CEO’s of the major cruise lines are touting few problems related to COVID-19. Royal Caribbean’s CEO Rihard Fain even predicts that cruising will be back at 100% in just ninety days:

In truth, there are an increasing number of “super-spreader” cruises taking place, that the cruise lines are trying to cover-up, like on the Carnival Vista six weeks ago and, more recently, on the MSC Virtuosa over the course of the last several weeks. MSC Cruises has experienced over two hundred guests and crew members infected on the Virtuosa alone, including several guests who have died. This cruise line simply refuses to comunicate transparently with either the victims or the press.

Meanwhile, another Carnival cruise ship, the Carnival Miracle, experienced at least a dozen COVID-19 cases involving guests, including one respiratory-related death, following a recent cruise to and from Alaska. We will be reporting on this cruise in more detail shortly.

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Image Credit: Jewel of the Seas – Top – Jemingway CC BY SA 2.0 via Flickr; Jewel of the Seas – Middle – Dave Souza – CC BY-SA 2.5, commons / wikimedia.

Social media continues to document additional deaths and major illnesses arising from COVID-19 exposure on the MSC Virtuosa which concluded its sailing this summer from the United Kingdon. Two week ago, in articles titled COVID-19 Aboard MSC Virtuosa and Passenger Dies After Super-Spreader COVID-19 Cruise on MSC Virtuosa, we reported that there were arround 75 to 100 guests, on the MSC cruise ship, who contracted COVID-19 during a series of cruises from the U.K. We also reported, based on information from crew members on the ship, that there have been around 25 to 50 crew members who are positive for COVID-19 as well.

The number of infected guests increased initially to 165, notwithstanding MSC’s promises of social distancing and “constant cleaning and sanitation” which would, somehow, magically tranform the ship into a “safe bubble.”

Twitter and Facebook remain abuzz with unanswered complaints from cruise passengers who became sickened with the virus.  Guests have continued to complain that the ship, marketed by the cruise line as providing a safe, virus-free “bubble” of a cruise, has been operating at a crowded capactiy with guests not wearing masks or socially distancing.

A private Facebook group, organized for people who have been infected with COVID-19, has now beeen joined by around around 232 infected guests (involving 93 cabins with average of 2.5 guests per cabin). Since we last reported on the fiasco, there have been at least two deaths of passengers (in addition to the deaths we peviously reported) due to COVID-19, as well as several cases of serious illnesses of guests requiring emergency medical treatment and hospitalization.

These are all “unofficial” disease figures because MSC steadfastly refuses to act responsibly and respond to numerous ongoing complaints from its customers. Former guests have connected on Twitter and Faceebook to determine the extent of the COVID outbreak.

Meanwhile, the corporate offices of MSC have remained mum, ignoring its customers and speaking only to spread disinformation. MSC claims that the summer season sailing from the U.K. has been a “success” and its COVID protocls “worked well.” MSC managing director Antonio Paradiso stated at a “conference at sea” organized by the Institute of Travel & Tourism (“ITT”) that “we’ve supported the whole travel industry as UK cruises have given travel agents the chance to start selling something again. Round-UK cruises have been a real success story this summer.”

Ironically the travel conference was held on the crowded MSC Virtuosa, and was touted by the ITT as “our first in-person event since March 2020 due to the pandemic.” MSC Director Paradiso talked to the conference attendees on the cruise ship, not about operating “smaller and “safer” ships, but about “Rebuilding Our Industry Bigger and Stronger.”

Ben Bouldin, a representative of the cruise trade goup for the industry, CLIA-UK, appeared at the conference on the infected cruise ship. He bizarely represented that the cruise industry’s health protocols were “absolutely working.”

CLIA also makes the preposterous claim that there were only 50 COVID-19 cases, out of the 100,000 or so guests from the U.K., on cruise ships operated by all of its member cruise lines over the past several months this last summer. In light of the fact that there were well over 200 guests infected on the MSC Virtuosa alone over just the last couple of cruises, such an allegation is not only absurd but shows the extent that cruise lines and their trade organization will manipulate the data to try and bamboozle the public. CLIA and the cruise lines have lied about such COVID-19 data in the past (falsely claiming that cruise ships in Europe and Asia carried “over 400,000 guests with less than 50 COVID cases.”)

Perhaps the appropriate name associated with the MSC Virtuosa shold be the MSCVirusosa.”

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the disussion on our Facebook page

September 27, 2021 Update: Except for a few newspapers in the U.K., most newspaper and media outlets have not covered this outbreak. One exception is cruise vlogger Midships which operates a YouTube channel which covered the MSC Virtuosa superspreader events. He says ”Jim Walker, while in my opinion biased against the cruise industry, does appear to bring fact-based, or at least evidence-based information to light.”

Five guests are positive for COVID-19 on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, (according to a reliable crew member (who wishes to remain anonymous) on the cruise ship and is familiar with the testing of passengers and crew members.

The infected guests were moved to what the crew calls the “red zone” for isolation onboard the cruise ship.

These passengers were disembarked today in Cyprus.

The COVID-19 tests on the Jewel are performed by a company called “Eurofins” which conducts the Antigen and PCR tests onboard. The crew member explained that Eurofins usually performs tests on crew members on days 2 and 3 of the week-long cruise. Guests are usually tested near the end of the cruise.

Virtually all cruise ships today are experiencing either some number of crew members who test positive or a handful of passengers who turn out to have the virus, notwithstanding the fact that they are already vaccinated. Certain cruise lines are consistently refusing to disclose the number of infected passengers and crew members on their ships.  A month ago, we published a short article titled Infected at Sea – The New Normal on Cruise Ships?  Of course, there is also an increasing number of “super-spreader” cruises taking place, that the cruise lines are trying to cover-up, like on the Carnival Vista last month and, more recently, on the MSC Virtuosa over the course of the last several weeks.

If these infections on the Jewel involve the highly contagious Delta variant, the R0 (pronounced “R naught”) (the mathematical term which indicates how contagious the infectious disease is) is as high as “7” or  “8.”  Each person infected is likely to infect 7 or 8 others. The virus on the Diamond Princess, in contrast, had a R0 of  only “2.”

The Jewel of the Seas departed from Limassol, Cyprus a week ago on September 11th. The Royal Caribbean ship visited ports in Greece including Rhodes Island, Mykonos Island, Piraeus, and Santorini Island. The ship returned to Cyprus today.

Are you aware of a COVID-19 outbreak on a cruise ship? Let us hear from you in the comment section below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Jewel of the Seas – Top – Dave Souza – CC BY-SA 2.5, commons / wikimedia; bottom – Royal Caribbean.