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.”

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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.”