A number of newspapers are reporting today that the Carnival Spirit cruise ship experienced a COVID-19 outbreak. As usual, Carnival Cruise Line refused to respond to requests regarding the number of infected passengers and crew members. Cruise guests on the Carnival cruise ship estimated the outbreak to involve “more than 100 people” and as many as 200.

In an article titled: “Carnival Cruise passengers say ship was overwhelmed with COVID-19 positive patients – Passengers say the response from the crew was chaotic,” King 5 News in Seattle reported: “They didn’t have enough staff to handle the emergency that was happening, period,” according to a ship passenger who was infected with the virus. “They were overwhelmed and they didn’t have a backup course in how to handle about 200 people affected with COVID. We all suffered.”

Passengers say they “waited hours for meals, weren’t properly isolated and couldn’t get ahold of medical staff.”

“We couldn’t call anybody . . . Basically, we sat in the room, you call and it would ring, ring, ring and ring all day long.”

US News reported that “Multiple people say they’re in quarantine at Seattle-area hotels after testing positive or being exposed to someone with COVID-19. Carnival Cruise Line would not confirm how many people tested positive . . . ”

Carnival suggested that cruise guests obtain travel insurance to defray hotel and any medical expenses related to their quarantines. Carnival released a statement to the press explaining: “Normally, guests are responsible for quarantine costs, but because so many of our guests were far from home, we made the hotel arrangements and have offered to share the cost of their lodging while they remain in Seattle to complete their five-day quarantine.” Carnival did not disclose how much of their customers’ costs it “offered to share.”

Carnival downplayed the outbreak, claiming that “there were no serious health issues” among the passengers. The reports did not address how many crew members were infected. Carnival would also not state how many passengers were on the ship at the time of the outbreak.

The Carnival ship left Seattle yesterday, heading to Tracy Arm Fjord, Alaska. The ship will thereafter continue on to Skagway, Juneau and Ketchikan in Alaska before sailing to Victoria and returning to Seattle on May 10, 2022.

Another Carnival Corporation owned cruise line, Princess Cruises, recently had COVID-19 outbreaks on at least five cruise ships in its fleet of cruise ships, including the Ruby Princes Grand Princess, Caribbean Princess, Sky Princess and Enchanted Princess

The Ruby Princess alone had at least 253 infected guests on the ship over the course of the last five sailings, according to the Washington Post.

Neither Carnival Corporation nor Princess Cruises disclosed the number of infected guests and crew members on these cruises.

Last week, a number of cruise executives, including retiring Carnival Corporation CEO Arnold Donald, stated at the annual Seatrade Cruise convention that they had allegedly “defeated COVID-19.”

That’s no consolation to the hundreds of people infected on Carnival and Princess cruise ships who had to undergo quarantine during their recent sailings.

Expect the outbreak to continue as the Carnival ship cruises through Alaska and to Canada and back.

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Image credit: Top – Carnival Spirit – screen grab (2) KIRO7; Carnival Spirit hallway corridor – King 5 News; bottom – Carnival Spirit – Becky Bohrer / The Associated Press via Seattle Times.

Update May 4, 2022 P.M.:

Update from the Seatle Times this afternoon in article titled – Seattle Cruise Industry Marks Comeback from COVID with COVID Ooutbreak On Ship:

  • The outbreak aboard the Spirit comes a day after officials with Carnival and the Port of Seattle held a ribbon-cutting ceremony celebrating the opening of the cruise season after two years of reduced sailings due to COVID.
  •  According to the CDC, the Carnival Spirit meets the threshold for a CDC investigation, which means 0.3% or more of the ship’s approximately 3,054 passengers and crew tested positive for COVID.
  • Of the 92 cruise ships operating in U.S. waters, 76 have reported at least one COVID case among passengers or crew members, according to the CDC’s cruises dashboard. Carnival has 22 cruises operating; all but four have positive cases.

Comments from blog and Facebook:

“So, the ship just keeps sailing!!! They dump people off and continue on their way? Yikes, and they are withholding info that passengers need to make conscious decisions. Very bad business. What has happened to all the disinfecting, cleaning, air quality….? It seems that Carnival Corporation , Royal and NCL really don’t care! Passengers beware! There are other cruise lines out there with great transparency and care for their clientele!”

“Covid is still here. I am just sad for the staff.”

“And to think that Christine Duffy was in Seattle on Monday (to celebrate the Carnival Splendor’s return to service), telling the media how great their Covid protocols are, and how safe it is to cruise now. (Interview can be found on KOMO FB page.)”

“In this video, popular cruise vlogger and travel agent Don said that Carnival refused to even test the cabin mates of the infected, saying it was not necessary.  https://youtu.be/AzrFkRK8YlM