As the media has focused on the multiple COVID-19 outbreaks on two Royal Caribbean cruise ships this past week involving the Symphony of the Seas (48 COVID-19 cases) and more recently, the Odyssey of the Seas (55 COVID-19 cases), a third Royal Caribbean ship, the Jewel of the Seas, has quitely experienced at least 14 COVID-19 cases during its cruise this week.

The major media outlets have not yet reported on the latest outbreak on the Jewel of the Seas so far. The cases involve 4 infected crew members and 10 infected guests.

This inside information was provided by a knowledgeable and trustworthy Royal Caribbean on this ship who wishes to remain anonymous.

We have reported on COVID-19 outbreaks on the Jewel of the Seas since July of this year, while the ship was sailing from Cyprus this summer. There have been over a hundred guests and crew members infected with the virus since July on multiple sailings around the Greek Isles13 people on the Jewel of the Seas were infected with COVID-13 when the ship took its last voyage this past summer, six cases while the Jewel was sailing across the Atlantic, and dozens of positive COVID-19 cases on sailings after the Royal Cribbean began cruises out of the Port of Miami which you can read about here and here.

The positive cases involved outbreaks of guests and crew members who supposedly have been vaccinated.  But depending on the efficacy of the particulat vaccine the guests have received, with the lowest rate of around 71% (Johnson & Johnson) and the highest rate of around 96% (Moderna), breakthrough infections should be anticipated of anyone who boards a cruise ship with a couple of thousand passengers and crew members.

Most of the crew members are vaccinated with Astrazeneca which has a low efficacy of around 63%. It is unknown whether any of the crew members have received booster injections.

The outbreak on the Jewel is just one of numerous outbreaks throughout the Royal Caribbean fleet. Currently there are sixteen (16) cruise ships which are operated by Royal Caribbean with COVID-19 aboard them which the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has issued either a yellow warning (reported cases of COVID-19 have met the threshold for CDC investigation ) or an orange warning (reported cases of COVID-19 have met the threshold for CDC investigation). This is a record number of cruise ships with COVID-19 positive cases involving a single cruise line.

The following Royal Caribbean owned and operated  cruise ship currently have COIVD-19 aboard: Adventure of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Freedom of the Seas, Harmony of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Odyssey of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas, and Symphony of the Seas. All of the ships have COVID-19 cases aboard them and are either under investigation or monitoring by the CDC.

Yesterday, I was interviewed by USA TODAY regarding the COVID-19 cases on the Symphony of the Seas  and Odyssey of the Seas, and was quoted as saying:

  • “The omicron variant of the COVID-19 virus is arriving like a giant tsunami wave,” Walker said.
  • “While Broadway and professional sports have canceled or postponed events, cruise lines show no signs of voluntarily slowing down,” Walker continued.
  • Walker believes that over the next few weeks, stories similar to that of the Symphony of the Seas cluster of cases will become “daily stories” as Omicron spreads.

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Imges Credit: Royal Caribbean Press Center (top); Royal Caribbean Press Release.