Watching videos of raucous cruise guests crowded in interior spaces and partying on cruise ships on  New Year’s Eve makes one think that the deadly COVID-19 pandemic is somehow over.

Notwithstanding recommendations by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) not to take a cruise even if you are vaccinated, many thousands of mask-less guests crowded together and partied on dozens of huge cruise ships, including the Anthem of the Seas and Harmony of the Seas.

The official Royal Caribbean COVID-19 protocols regarding the basic issue regarding “will I have to wear a face mask onboard my cruise, and if so, exactly when and where?”state, in part:

Masks ARE required to be worn:

  • While indoors onboard the ship, unless seated and actively eating or drinking.

If this cruise lines is going to openly flaunt its own health and safety rules, you can expect its passengers will also consider them a joke and ignore them.

A few days ago before these super-spreader events took place, we reported on a COVID-19 outbreak that infected around  fifty (50) crew members on the Harmony of the Seas. Yesterday, many dozens of guests reported that they were infected with COVID-19 on this same Royal Caribbean ship with many posting comments on Twitter. Several guests, many with children, stated that they were transferred from their cabins to cabins in the “positive covid section” of the ship. Many estimate that there may be as many as three-hundred infected guests occupying cabins on several deck reserved for those who are COVID-19 positive. The ship also transferred over one-hundred (100) crew members who tested positive for the virus.

But the mass gatherings and partying were not limited to cruise guests. At least one cruise ship, the MSC Seaview, hosted a crew Christmas party where over one-hundred mask-less ship employees, including officers, crowded in an interior room on deck 18 appropriately nick-named the “Jungle Room” (according to a crew member who contacted me).

There are now at least seventy-three crew members, many of whom attended the Christmas party in question, who are positive for COVID-19.  These ship employees have been isolated and their cabin mates and other close contacts are also in quarantine on the MSC ship. Many of the ship employees are symptomatic with “headaches, sore throats, fever and chills” and the “cases are rising.” This crew member states that “crew members who have been isolated for being in close contact with infected crew members are also having symptoms but the cruise ship’s medical team has not yet visited or tested them yet.

Last week, the CDC stated that in the last two weeks there have been over 5,000 guests and crew members on over ninety infected cruise ships. I would estimate that this number will likely triple or quadruple over the next two weeks as the Delta and Omicron variants continue to surge.

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Comment rrceived: “I would like to Contact the CDC in regards to the Anthem event, Obviously the ANTHEMS executive staff is ignoring the Covid Health & Safety protocols. It’s all on the video. As a Health Care Professional and a Front Line First responder from NJ it’s quite disturbing since we are having high Covid transmission in the NY/NJ area. The NJEMS task force is setting up Covid tents adjacent to the ER and FEMA has sent a task force to NYC to supplement FDNY EMS. It’s really sad. And we are a faithful RCL customer with over 100 Voyages completed since 1985.”

Images Credit: Anthem of the Seas New Year’s Eve video – Brian Barrett via Twitter (Cruise Director says: “Goodbye to 2021!”)