At least two crew members on Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19, according to the Maltese newspaper CBE News. At the time of the news, the cruise ship was anchored off the coast at Majorca Bay, Mallorca, Spain. The ship is now heading to Gibraltar on her way back to the state of Florida

In a short article, CBE News explains that the two ship employees who tested positive for COVID-19 were initially isolated in their cabin (singular in original article). Royal Caribbean planned to disembark them in Palma de Majorca where they will undergo quarantine at a private clinic. The newspaper’s Twitter feed states that Royal Caribbean has left them on the island; tracking services show the Odyssey sailing toward Gibraltar.

Another newspaper reports that there were five crew members who tested positive for the virus, although Royal Caribbean stated that there were only four crew members infected. The newspaper reports that “once in the port of Palma, Foreign Health personnel will make a first assessment of the infected crew members and later they will be transferred by ambulance to a private hospital, where they will be quarantined.”

Infocruceros, which also reported five crew to be infected, states that the outbreak aboard the Odyssey of the Seas “puts at risk what was considered until now imminent reopening of Spanish ports to international cruise ships, renews the bad image of cruise ships having been on the cover of several national newscasts, and returns to put into question the protocols and the responsibility of Royal Caribbean that has starred in several outbreaks in ships supposedly quarantined during this long pandemic.”

The Odyssey of the Seas has been in the news for the past couple of months. Initial reports indicated that the ship was going to sail from Haifa, Israel on short cruises to Limassol, Cyprus starting in June. The company was also scheduled to begin three and four night cruises to Rhodes and Mykonos, Greece starting in September.

Ten days ago, as Israeli-Palestinian violence escalated, we reported that the Odyssey of the Seas was cancelling her sailings from Israel this summer. We also learned from crew members on the ship that it was being repositioned (from Cyprus where it initially sailed from Israel) to Florida. (The ship recently stopped briefly in Civitavecchia, Italy, after leaving Cyprus). Royal Caribbean had still not obtained the necessary approvals from the Israel’s health ministry, according to several news stations in Israel, when it cancelled its sailing from Israel. It does not appear that these crew members were ever vaccinated, even though they were suppose to be part of the all vaccinated crew who would be on the Odyssey of the Seas sailing from Israel next month.

With these two to five positive COVID-19 cases, there have been at least 218 to 221 cases of COVID-19 on cruise ships sailing from European ports.  We explained this in our article titled Cruise Lines Continue to Misrepresent Number of Positive COVID-19 Cases During Cruises Outside of the U.S. (there were 214 cases at this time). Since the article and before this latest news, there were two more COVID-19 cases involving NY Cruises and Costa cruise ships (bringing the total to 216).

The cruise industry continues to misrepresent its experiences with COVID-19 while sailing in Europe and in Asia (primarily Singapore). The cruise industry’s trade organization, Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), initially released patently false information that there have been less than fifty (50) cases of COVID-19 on sailing outside of the U.S. involving over 400,000 cruise passengers. The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has stated that this information is “not an equivalent comparison to the U.S.

The cruise industry is stating that most lines intend to resume sailing from U.S. ports this summer. However, few companies have made the necessary agreements with ports, housing authorities and medical providers (as required by the CDC) to transport, house and provide medical treatment for guests who become exposed to the virus during the initial cruises from the U.S.

When cruises resume, it is certain that there will be additional guests and crew members who test positive for COVID-19. We will continue to keep track of the cases.

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