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.

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