A crew member on the Jewel of the Seas informs me that the Royal Caribbean cruise ship has a total o  seventy-nine (79) COVID-19 cases on the ship, amongst guests (61) and crew members (18).

The Jewel left port in Amsterdam today on a twelve day cruise to ports in Iceland and Ireland. She is scheduled to return to Amsterdam on July 14, 2022.

The Jewel has a new infection control officer (ICO) due to the increased number of COVID-19 cases aboard the ship. The officer sent a message to the crew with these instructions and comments:

  •  “All crew should ONLY be wearing KN95 masks correctly (over the nose and mouth). Surgical mask or double masking is not allowed at this time. Be diligent in sanitizing in your work areas AND in home areas.
  •  Report to medical if you have any COVID like symptoms.
  •  Report any suspected guest/crew who exhibit any COVID like symptoms. This will help prevent spreading amongst the ship.
  • Keep your immune system up by washing your hands, eating healthy, getting a good amount of rest, exercise and enjoyable time.
  •  Holding each other accountable.
  • Jewel has a tough itinerary with long cruises, demographics, weather, along with the amount of Back to Back cruisers (contamination pool), BUT I believe this crew is STRONG and RECEPTIVE who can really combat the virus spread. Lets all work together and be diligent in our efforts. I thank all of you in advance.”

The highly contagious BA.4 and BA.5 variants are wreaking havoc in the U.S. and Europe as virtually all cruise ships at sea are inundated with COVID. The CDC’s Cruise Ship COVID-19 Status Dashboard, for what its worth, shows that of the 94 cruise ships sailing in U.S. waters, 92 ships are designated as orange and 2 ships are yellow. There are absolutely no cruise ships designated as green with no COVID-19 aboard.

We have received numerous comments by guests and crew members on a wide range of cruise ships operated by a number of different companies stating that there have been anywhere from a few dozen to over 150 infected people on recent cruises.

If you have been on a cruise recently and there has been a COVID-19 outbreak, let us hear from you.

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Image Credit: Jewel of the Seas Dave souza – CC BY-SA 2.5, commons / wikimedia.

Yesterday, I received word from the Jewel of the Seas, upon its return from its latest cruise back to its curremt home port of Amsterdam, that forty-six (46) guests of the 1,750 passengers tested positive for COVID-19. The Royal Caribbean cruise ship still had sixteen (16) senior oficer who were in quarantine (which we discussed in our post titled Senior Officers on Jewel of the Seas Test Positive for COVID-19), who were expected to be released from isolation.

Previously, the ship’s officers expressed their concern that there was an increasing trend of positive COVID-19 cases on the ship, and reminding the crew that they were required to wear mask on the ship.

As with other posts regarding this cruise ship, a Royal Caribbean crew member who wishes to remain anonymous provided this information to the firm.

Other guests contacted me regarding this cruise, including one passengers who said:

“I was on the Jewel sailing May 27-June 8 and many passengers and crew contracted Covid. We had 3 cabin stewards for our cabin alone as the first two tested positive. Many people in our Facebook group contracted it as well.”

Unfortunately, cruise lines like Royal Caribbean refuse to disclose the actual number of infected guest and crew members on the ship.

The Jewel of the Seas began its latest cruise yesterday with 1,500 guests. We will keep you informed how many people on this latest cruise become infected.

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Image credit: Jewel of the SeasCruiseMapper.

When we last reported on the COVID-19 status of the Jewel of the Seas five days ago, there were twelve (12) crew members and seven (7) guests who initially tested positive for COVID-19 as the Royal Caribbean cruise ship was sailing around Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England.

Spike in COVID-19 Cases Among Crew Members on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas

At that time, according to Royal Caribbean, there was an increase in the number of infected crew members, leading to a the staff captain sending an email to the crew members to remind them to wear KN95 masks on the ship:

“We have unfortunately lately seen a spike in the COVID19 cases among our crew!

Please ensure following is strictly adhered to in order for us to break this inclining curve of C+ cases:

KN95 Masks are to be worn at all the times, except when in your cabin or when eating, drinking or smoking.”

When the Jewel of the Seas returned to Amsterdam from its last cruise on Friday, May 27th, the number of guests who tested positive had increased to twenty-nine (29).

The day after the Jewel of the Seas embarked on its current cruise to Iceland, half of the crew underwent antigen testing.  The number of crew members infected with COVID-19 had increased to nineteen (19).

After the second half of the crew members underwent antigen tests later on Saturday, the number of ship employees who tested positive increased again, this time to a total of thirty-five (35) crew members. These infected crew members were isolated and housed in the “Red Zone”  on decks three and four of the ship.

Included in the crew members infected with COVID-19 was the master of the Jewel of the Seas who had just signed on the ship. He is required to isolate in his own cabin on deck nine, close to bridge.

In addition to the master, the ship’s staff captain and chief safety officer also tested positive for COVID-19.

There are currently exactly 783 crew members on the Jewel of the Seas. 35 of them are infected with COVID-19.  This turns out to be around four and one-half percent of the crew infected with the virus. If sailing from the U.S., the Royal Caribbean ship would be subject to an investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (“CDC”). Because it is sailing from Europe, there obviously is no obligation to report the infection rate to a U.S. federal health agency.

This now seems to be the new normal, with cruise voyages having at least a couple of dozen infected crew members and cruise guests.  Perhaps there are some cruise ships with fewer infected crew members. One problem is that an infected crew member, of course, unlike a passenger, will remain on the ship and potentially is a source of infection from one cruise to the next if they are not properly quarantined.

This raises the question: should cruise lines be required to disclose the percentage of crew members and guests on cruise ships who are positive with COVID-19? The CDC requires cruise lines to disclose the number of people who are infected with diseases from norovirus and e-coli, for example.  Data arising from a  norovirus outbreak on a cruise ship is publicly available when there are at least 2% of the crew or guests positive. The information can be readily viewed at the CDC’s online website.

But as matters now stand, cruise lines legally can keep outbreaks of COVID-19 secret. That’s why there are instances where there are outbreaks with several hundred people infected on a cruise and the public doesn’t know a thing about it. If there is not a legal requirement to disclose a health hazard, and no acountability if the cruise line keeps the information secret, I do not know of any cruise line with such honesty and transparency that it would disclose a danger voluntarily.

Most cruise lines lack transparency when it come to disclosing disease coutbreaks. That’s why, like this situation, it is important to have crew members or guests with first hand personal knowledge willing to reveal the true facts. This information comes from an anonymous crew member, who I have known for over a year and can be trusted to provide accurate information.  But some cruise lines will not only conceal this type of information but affirmatively mischaracterize the truth.

At this point, the “new normal” seems to be that there will always be a few dozen COVID-19 cases on every cruise ship but the cruise industry will fail to disclose them to the public.

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Image Credit: Jewel of the Seas – Royal Caribbean Press Center.

 

The Jewel of the Seas sailed from Amsterdam on May 20th with 1,752 guests onboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship. There were twelve (12) crew members and three (3) guests who initially tested positive for COVID-13. After two days of the cruise, the number of guests who tested positive for the virus increased to seven (7).

This information comes from a trusted source on the ship who wishes to remain anonymous. The crew member has provided accurate information in the past about the number of infected guests and crew members on this particular ship over the course of the last year. Like other cruise lines, Royal Caribbean does not voluntarily disclose information regarding the number of either infected guests or crew members, althought this information is invaluable to a comsumer evaluating the risk of becoming infected during a cruise.

The Jewel of the Seas is currently on a week long cruise around Ireland, Wales, Scotland and England. The ship is scheduled to return to Amsterdam on Friday, May 27th.

The ship has recetly focused on the fact that, according to Royal Caribbean, there has been an increase in the number of infected crew members, leading to a senior officer reminding the crew to wear KN95 masks on the ship.

The ship’s Staff Captain, Frank Jensen, recently sent this email to the crew:

“Good morning fellow Ship Mates,

We have unfortunately lately seen a spike in the COVID19 cases among our crew!

Please ensure following is strictly adhered to in order for us to break this inclining curve of C+ cases:

KN95 Masks are to be worn at all the times, except when in your cabin or when eating, drinking or smoking.

We will keep you posted.

Regards”

As far as passengers are concerned, the wearing of masks on the ship is strictly optional. As a practical matter, no guests seem to wear masks voluntarily. Royal Caribbean does not instruct guests to wear mask though it knows that COVID-19 cases are “spiking” among the crew.

As we previously reported, the Jewel of Seas had as many as one hundred (100) to two hundred (200) infected crew members at any given time late last year and earlier this year during a surge in cases as the Omicron variant emerged. The Jewel was one of three Royal Caribbean cruise ships (including the Serenade of the Seas and the Vision of the Seas) used by the cruise line as a floating quarantine hotel / walk-in clinic at sea for infected crew members. The ship previously would rendevous with other Royal Caribbean ships to pick up hundreds of other infected/ill crew members. It is our understanding that Royal Caribbean is no longer housing infected crew members on quarantine-ships after the Omicron variant surge largely abated. 

Nonetheless, it remains risky to board a cruise ship maskless, as Royal Caribbean seems to privately realize.

We will report regarding the number of infected crew and guests when the Jewel of the Seas returns to Amsterdam.

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Top – Jewel of the Seas – By Dave souza – CC BY-SA 2.5, commons / wikimedia; Jewel of the Seas – middle – Royal Caribbean Press Center.

This past weekend, Royal Caribbean announced the suspension of the Jewel of the Seas. The announcement also refered to the cruise line suspending two other active cruise ships, Symphony of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas.  It included a statement that a fourth cruise ship, the Vision of the Seas, which is not yet sailing on revenue cruises with passengers, will not resume cruises with guests for another seven weeks. What the company did not announce, but is becoming obviously clear, is that Royal Caribbean will continue to use the Vision of the Seas as well as the Rhapsody of the Seas as floating quarantine hotels / hospitals to accomodate the thousands of crew members who are infected / ill with COVID-19. Read: Vision of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas: Royal Caribbean’s “Plague Ships,”

Based on information which we have received from crew members of the Vision and Rhapsody, both cruise ships are now at full capcacity with quarantined and ill crew members. Yet, each week we see more and more crew members becoming infected with the virus.  Royal Caribbean addressed ths problems by deciding that the Jewel of the Seas will be used as a third floating quarantine hotel / hospital ship for crew members.

The company announced internally that “Jewel of the Seas will be serving as crew accommodations, as we work with our other ships in service . . .  We will have three types of crew on board Jewel: (1) working crew, (2) quarantine crew, and (3) COVID positive crew transferred to the Jewel from other ships.”

The Jewel made its first pickup of infected crew members when it rendezvoused with the Harmony of the Seas early this morning  The Jewel sailed from Miami and the Harmony from Port Canaveral and met at Royal Caribbean’s private destination at Coco Cay. One crew member placed the number of transferred crew members at 237; another stated that 241 infected crew were tranferred.

We reported that when the Jewel was approaching Miami yesterday, there were a total of 163 infected crew and 10 infected guests. By the time that the Jewel arrived at PosrtMiami, these numbers increased to 183 crew members and 23 guests.

Considering that the Jewel had 183 infected crew members as of yesterday and picked up least 237 infected crew members from the Harmony this morning, the Royal Caribbean ship now has a total of 420  infected crew members. So it’s just a matter of time before we learn that the Jewel is at full capacity of housing infected and ill crew members.

There is an issue whether these floating hospitals have adequate medical staffing of doctors and nurses. The Vision reportedly has only two doctors and four nurses for over 1,500-2,000 infected crew.  It is unknown how many ship doctors or nurses are on the Jewel, but it is doubtful whether there are more than two doctors and a few nurses.

The majority of the infected crew members on the Vision are reportedly symptomatic with headaches, fever, sore throats and fatigue. Fortunately, few crew members  have severe symptoms at this time but there are some instances of ship employees complaining of shortness of breath and other significant symptoms. There is an obvious concern, with so many thousands of infected crew members and so few doctors and nurses on these ships, that those employees with more serious symptoms will slip through the cracks.

From what I have heard from guests on Royal Caribbean ships and through some of their social media postings, ships nurses appear exhausted from dealing with COVID-19 related medical issues, as reveaked by this TikToc posting by a guest whose family (wife and child) was infected on the Harmony of the Seas last week.

@cruisingwithcovid

Royal Carribean Nurse: “We have alot alot of patients with worse symptoms than you” …. #cruise #royalcaribbean #deck9 #fyp #quarantine #covid #theroyalcomeback #theRoyalSETBACK #harmonyoftheseas #socialdistancing @royalcaribbean @cdc.official @cruiseindustrycritic @jimwalker @cruisediva

♬ original sound – CWC

Although I have been referring to the Vision and Rhapsody and, now, the Jewel as floating “hotels” and “hospitals,” in truth they are neither. In all cases, crew members do not have the luxury of going for a walk outside of the hotel and getting some fresh air. For most crew members, they don’t have balconies which they can open; they must breath the same old COVID-19 recycled air inhaled and exhaled by everyone on lower crew decks. The so called “floating hospital” is actually no more than an ill equipped “walk-in” clinic at sea, staffed by an insufficient number of ship doctors and nurses.

Clearly, Royal Caribbean should promptly transport their infected ship employees ashore and pay for them to stay in hotels to recover, as is consistent with the fundamental requirements of maritime law and the “maintenance and cure” doctrine. Keeping infected and often ill crew members stuck on ships at sea should be an embarrassment to the cruise line. Carnival is doing the same thing by using some of its older cruise ships, like the Carnival Ecstasy and Carnival Sensation, as floating quarantine and medical facilities. However, to these types of companies motivated more by money than the health and safety of its crew, this appears to be business as usual.

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Image credit: Top – Jewel of the Seas – Dave souza – CC BY-SA 2.5 commons / wikimedia.orgLindsay Ratliff -TikToc video – Royal Carribean Nurse: “We have alot, alot of patients with worse symptoms than you” (see @cruisingwithcovid); Twitter images  – respective Twitter usrs.

Yesterday, Royal Caribbean announced the suspension of sailing on three of its active cruise ships, the Jewel of the Seas, Symphony of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas.  It also announced that a fourth cruise ship, the Vision of the Seas, which is not yet sailing on revenue cruises with pasengers and which the company is using as a floating quarantine hotel / hospital, will not resume cruises with guests for another seven weeks.

Royal Caribbean announced the following:

“As a result of the ongoing COVID-related circumstances around the world, and in abundance of caution, we have made the tough decision to pause operations on the following ships:

  • Jewel of the Seas sailings from Jan. 9 – Feb. 12, returning on Feb. 20, 2022;
  • Serenade of the Seas sailings from Jan. 8 – March 5, resuming service after her dry dock on April 26, 2022;
  • Symphony of the Seas sailings from Jan. 8 – Jan. 22, returning on Jan. 29, 2022;
  • Vision of the Seas return to cruising is postponed until March 7, 2022.”

What Royal Caribbean did not say in its “abundance of caution” announcement (and will never publicly admit) is that it is now facing an explosion of COVID-19 cases on its ships, primarily affecting its crew members.

Over the last ten days, we reported that the Jewel of the Seas had 15 infected crew members shortly after Christmas, then 25 infected crew members, then 50 infected crew, then 80, then 109 as of yesterday. All the while, officers on the Jewel kept the rising COVID-19 count secret from the guests and would lie to them when questioned.

As of late last night, there were 163 infected crew members, as well as 10 infected guests.  The ship initially planned to rendezvous with the Vision of the Seas and transfer its infected and/or ill crew onto that floating quarantine hotel / hospital ship where hundreds are being warehoused in order for the company to avoid quarantine and medical costs of transferring its crew ahore. With the announcement yesterday that it will suspend cruises for over a month when it reaches Miami tommorow, the cruise line will now not transfer anyone else to the Vision but will keep its many infected crew on the ship.

This information is from a reliable crew employee on this ship who I have known for years and  who has provided shipboard COVID-19 statistics which I have reported on since last July when the ship was experiencing just a handful of positive cases a cruise.

Based on information from crew members we know on Royal Caribbean ships and statistics which have been reported by the Miami Herald, the following Royal Caribbean ships have seen an explosion of COVID-19 cases, primarily of crew members:

Jewel of the Seas163 crew members (first reported in this article);

Explorer of the Seas 110 crew members (first reported in this article);

Harmony of the Seas110 crew members;

Oasis of the Seas55 guests and crew members;

Odyssey of the Seas  52 crew members;

Rhapsody of the Seas 48 guests and crew members.

Yes, that’s 413 crew members infected with COVID-19 from just four ships, the Jewel, Explorer, Harmony and Odyssey over the course of just one week.

Passengers on these ships tell us that the absence of ship employees is obvious around the ships. Passenger cabins not being attended to by stateroom attendants, bartenders and waiters are missing from restaurants and lounges, and entertainment is being cancelled are some of the typical comments we hear from guests.

Meanwhile, Royal Caribbean is continuing to shuttle its infected and ill crew members to one of two floating hotels / hospitals, the Vision of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas. Currently, the Vision of the Seas is housing around 1,500 infected and ill crew members from a number of cruise ships who are often transferred at night to avoid creating a public spectacle. Last week, the Harmony of the Seas transferred around 110 infected crew to the Vision in Coco Cay. Today, the Explorer of the Seas transferred a similar number to the Rhapsody of the Seas in St. Maarten.

Some of the cruise ships like the Jewel, which will suspend cruises tomorrow,  will be used to quarantine infected crew members because there is simply not enough room on the two quarantine ships to accommodate additional crew members. These two ships are already stuffed with infected crew members who usually are required to share cabins in the crew quarters without balconies.

It is now past the point of debating whether the cruise industry can safely cruise. The industry continues to stumble forward with literally several thousands of infected and sick ship employees now floating around on makeshift quarantine ships and “hospitals.” These ships could more accurately be called skimpy floating “walk-in clinics” which are more likely to dispense Ibuprofen than take crew complaints seriously.

Royal Caribbean recently told USA TODAY that infected crew are quickly returned from their floating quarantine ships to work as soon as they test negative. But it’s not as simple as the public relations at Royal Caribbean are letting on. The majority of the infected crew members on the Vision of the Seas are in fact lardely symptomatic (sore throats, headaches, fever, and fatigue are the most common complaints) and there are some ship employees with shortness of breath and other serious symptoms. There is a paucity of ship doctors (just two) responsible for around 1,500 crew members on this floating walk-in clinic. This clinics is not only understaffed but under-equipped. There are no frontline therapies available, such as  monoclonal antibiodies, available or adequate oxygen supplies, and certainly no ventilators or ECMO heart-lung machines on these floating clinics.

The last place anyone infected with COVID-19 should be is on a minimally equipped and staffed floating walk-in clinic far away from the U.S.

Although we do not have data from all of Royal Caribbean ships, it is reasonable to assume that the rest of the company’s fleet is experiencing a similar number of infected crew members and the ships are struggling to offer uninterrupted basic services.

There is no good reaaason for having a pleasant back-and-forth debate about whether there should be another no-sail order similar to that first entered in March of 2020.

Unfortuntely, as much as cruise fans and travel writer-shills for the industry bemoan that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) is somehow “picking on the industry,” the fact is that the CDC does not regularly report on the daily number of COVID-19 infections on cruise ships. Incredibly, the CDC’s conditional sailing order is about to become just a suggestion for cruise lines to voluntarily follow. For that matter, the CDC is sill cluelessly designating the Vision and the Rhapsody as “orange” notwithstanding many hundreds of infected and sick crew on each ship. An “orange” designation is defined, according to the CDC, as “reported cases of COVID-19 are below the threshold for CDC investigation.”

How on earth can 1,500 crew members infected with COVID-19 be below the federal health agency’s threshold for conducting a investigation?

As the CDC oversight seems likely to soon fade away, perhaps it does not really matter.  To me, it seems that the cruise industry resembles a car which limped along with deflated tires for far too long, and is now riding on its rims. It’s just a matter of time until its wheels come off and it crashes. Any family foolish enough at this point to trust the largely dishonest cruise lines and ignore the CDC’s warning not to cruise may be in for a rude wakening when they climb aboard a cruise ship now.

Ten days ago when the CDC last announced the total of cruise ship COVID-19 cases (when it warned that the public should not travel by cruise ship even if vaccinated) the count was a little over 5,000 cases. That was around a week ago. If and when the CDC next announces the number of COVID-19 cases on cruise ship, it will likely be over 25,000. The count will continue to climb as long as the Omicron and Delta variants continue to surge and the ships keep sailing until the cruise industry comes to a grinding halt.

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Image credit: Top – Jewel of the Seas – Dave souza – CC BY-SA 2.5 commons / wikimedia.org;

After additional testing on the Jewel of the Seas, there are now one-hundred and nine (109) COVID-19 cases involving crew members on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship which is continuing on its cruise to the Caribbean. Six guests are also infected with the virus. Earlier this week, we reported that thee were fifty-one (51) crew cases which increased to eighty (80) crew cases by yesterday afternoon and now over one-hundred cases!

We have reported on COVID-19 cases on this ship since its was sailing last summer from Cyprus. This is by far the most virus cases we have seen on this particular ship.

The Jewel is one of several Royal Caribbean cases which has experienced a significant number of COVID-19 cases involving crew members. The Symphony of the Seas experienced forty-eight (48) positive crew members; the Odyssey of the Seas had fifty-two (52), which later increased to sixty-nine (69); and Harmony of the Seas over one-hundred (100) crew members infected (thee diferent guests videotaped and observed crew members transferring from the Harmony to the Vision of the Seas (the company is using as a floating hotel / hospital who arrived at slightly different totals of 107, 108 and 110 crew members).

The information from the Jewel comes from a reliable and knowledgeable crew member who we have known for years who wishes to remain anonymous. We are also in touch with a number of guests who state that these cruise line is not being forthcoming with information about the number of infected on the ship. One guest informed us:

‘Still no updates from the ship. The captain’S last message was wonderful weather, and a small history on Haiti. Dining room had a long wait for food at lunch. Server said there were very few people to cook today. Housekeeping is down to nothing. There was 1 cart in the floors I walked this morning. A guest is telling everyone that a member of her party … tested positive and can not be moved to deck 3 or deck 4 (quarantine cabins)  because they are full. She said neither she nor the people in her cabin have not been contacted to test.”

It appears from the information coming from the ship that portions of decks three and four are resreved for quarantining COVID-19 positive passengers and crew. We have received continuing comments that the service is obviously sub-par on the ship with an insufficient number of waiters, cabin attendants and cleaners missing form their jobs.

Yesterday, we reported that there were 80 quarantined crew members on the ship. This number has increased all week long to the current total of 109.

 

At this time, the ship is continuing on with it plan to offload the infected crew members to the Vision of the Seas between now and Sunday (January 9th) when the ship is scheduled to return to Miami.

It is difficult to see how this cruise ship can continue oerating where so many crew operations are lacking a sufficient number of healthy employees and some of the Cariibean ports are refusing infected ships to dock.

As we have mentioned in prior posts, Royal Caribbean is using the Vision (along with the Rhapsody OTS) as a floating quarantine / hospital for infected crew members.  You can read our thought about this practice in our article titled Vision of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas: Royal Caribbean’s “Plague Ships.”

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January 7, 2022 Afternoon Upfate: The captain announced that the Jewel of the Seas will suspend operations for the rest of this month, We are currently unaware of the exact cruises which are being cancelled.

Further January 7, 2022 Update: Royal Caribbean announced the following:

As a result of the ongoing COVID-related circumstances around the world, and in abundance of caution, we have made the tough decision to pause operations on the following ships:

  • Jewel of the Seas sailings from Jan. 9 – Feb. 12, returning on Feb. 20, 2022;
  • Serenade of the Seas sailings from Jan. 8 – March 5, resuming service after her dry dock on April 26, 2022;
  • Symphony of the Seas sailings from Jan. 8 – Jan. 22, returning on Jan. 29, 2022;
  • Vision of the Seas return to cruising is postponed until March 7, 2022.

Image credit: Top – anonymous guest on the Jewel of the Seas; middle – respective Twitter users.

Officers on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Jewel of the Seas, reportedly are falsely telling guests aboard the ship that there are neither guests nor crew members on the ship who have tested positive for COVID-19. In truth, there are currently around eighty (80) crew members who have tested positive for the virus after testing today. Five additional people on the cruise ship, guests, also tested positive.

The ship has made no official statements via intercom to the guests regarding the number of  infected guests and crew. But when guests question the officers and crew, they are reportedly told that the ship is “clean” of COVID-19 and no one is quarantined on the ship.

This reality on the ship tells a different story, according to several guests, some of whom would prefer to remain anonymous and others who have posted comments on Twitter.

After one of the ports, Cartagena, prohibited the Jewel from porting a few days ago, as we last reported, the Jewel sailed on to Aruba and guests were eventually permitted ashore. Unfortunately, by the time that the ship finally reached Aruba, the CDC issued a warning against traveling to Aruba. This presented essentially a double whammy to the guests. Not only had the CDC warned against travel by cruise ship, whether you are vaccinated or not, the federal health agency also specifically warned against travel to Aruba.

Guests on the ship who we have communicated with talk of waiters who are obviously missing from the dining room and cabin attendants who are no longer showing up for cabin duty.  One guests informed me that:

“Don’t they not realize that people with common sense are noticing the shortage of the staff, as most of the infected crew are hotel workers, waiters, cabin attendants, bar servers. Many people are talking about dining room staff being very short. Officers are busing tables, tables are sitting for an hour dirty, … and the pool deck is sitting for hours dirty.

They are saying there are ZERO cases on board and no one is in quarantine.”

Another guest stated:

“On Jewel there is NO information being provided to guests about number of cases on board and when you ask we are told ‘Jewel is a clean ship, no COVID.’ Noticed crew disappearing at an alarming rate from all around the ship. Tables in the dining room left dirty for the entirety of dinner, and tables around ship left dirty for hours. Entertainment crew seems to be heavily affected as well.”

Another guests stated:

Room attendants have been dwindling on my floor which is or was almost full . . . . Forward cabins on 4 are closed (for quarantine) along with part of 3.”

Some guests are commenting on Twitter about the people are being quarantined on the Jewel:

One crew member informed me that guests are inquiring about the crew members not showing up to work in the restaurants, cabins and entertainment venues:

“People with common sense are certainly noticing the shortage of the staff, as most of the infected crew are hotel workers – waiters, cabin attendants, bar servers.”

The current status of the Jewel of the Seas is that the ship departed from Aruba earlier this evening headed toward Miami.  It is anticipated that, like other Royal Caribbean cruise ships, it will divert – possibly to Coco Cay – to transfer its infected / ill crew members to the Vision of the Seas which this cruise line is using as a floating quarantine hotel / hospital. In fact, some infected crew members have already received emails from the ship’s HR team about their upcoming transfer to Vision of the Seas before the Jewel return to Miami.

You can read about Royal Caribbean’s use of the Vision of the Seas as well as the Rhapsody of the Seas to warehouse at sea its ill and injured crew members in the article titled Vision of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas: Royal Caribbean’s “Plague Ships.”

We will report further when the Jewel unloads its infected / ill crew members onto the Vision in the next few days. Stay tuned . . .

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Image credit: Top – anonymous guest on the Jewel of the Seas; middle – respective Twitter users.

This morning the captain (master) of the Jewel of the Seas announced that the Royal Caribbean cruise ship was barred from porting in Cartagena due to the presence of COVID -19. A knowledgeable crew member informed me that fifty-one (51) crew members, and three (3) guests, tested positive for COVID-19.

There are 755 crew members and 1351 guests on the ship at his time.

The cruise ship is now heading toward Oranjestad, Aruba where it will dock overnight.

In the past ten days, the Jewel of the Seas has offloaded crew members who tested positive for COVID-19 to both the Vision of the Seas (25 infected crew) and the Rhapsody of the Seas (21 crew) which Royal Caribbean is using as floating quarantine hotels and floating hospitals to avoid many ports’ COVID-19 reporting requirements. This cruise line also saves substantial money by transferring its infected and/or ill crew members to these two idle ships in its fleet. It is likely that the Jewel will again transfer its infected / ill crew members to one of these ships before its returns to Miami onJanuary 9th.

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Image credit: Top –  Jewel of the Seas – Royal Caribbean Press Center.

Jaauary 5, 2022 Update: The Jewel didn’t port in Aruba lasy night as the passengers were initially told. Passengers are nor saying that the ship has been sailing in circles and they have been in the dark. The ship is now saying that it will port in Aruba late this afternoon:

The Jewel of the Seas faced a dilemna yesterday.  After starting the day with fifteen crew members and five guests testing positive for COVID-19, ten additional crewmembers later tested positive for the virus. This brought the number of infected crew members to a total of twenty-five. With five infected guests, the total number of infected people on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship increased to thirty, which is more than 1% of the ship’s population of 2,500 (consisting of 1,700 guests and 800 crew members).

Many Caribbean islands will not permit cruise ships to stop in their ports if more than 1% of the total ship population (passengers and crew) test positive for COVID-19.

Royal Caribbean faced the distinct prospect of being barred from making future ports of call. The company therefore made plans to avoid that spectacle by transferring a number of infected crew members from the Jewel to the Rhapsody of the Seas, which was at anchor off of St.Marteen where the Jewel called this morning.

This information has been provided by a knowledgeable crew member on the ship who wishes to remain anonymous and employed on the ship. The crew member has provided accurate COVID-19 about this ship’s guests and crew members since last July when the ship was sailing from Cyprus.  The crew member explained that the crew transfer was done “in order to reduce the number of COVID positive persons on board in order to be able to continue cruising and stopping at the next port of call.”

This particular situation has not yet been reported in the national media. But there are several cruise ships which have recently been denied permission to call at ports in the Caribbean.

In the last week as the Omicron variant soared and spread across the cruise ships, no less than six ports denied permission for cruise ships to dock. Bonaire, Curaçao, St. Thomas, Aruba, Puerto Vallarta, Cartagena & San Juan have all barred cruise ships from docking at their ports due to the presence of COVID-19 positive guests and passengers on ships operated by Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Holland America Line. A number of news sources have commented on the steps taken by ports in the Caribbean and Mexico to protect their residents from U.S. based cruise ships with infected people aboard.

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December 29, 2021 Afternoon Update: Here is the latest from the Jewel of the Seas: 10 more Royal Caribbean crew members tested positive for COVID-19. After quitely transferring 25 positive crew members to Rhapsody of the Seas (hospital / quarantine ship) earlier this week, the captain announced that the Jewel will stop in Coco Cay Bahamas before arriving back on Miami. The master didn’t announce why he was altering the planned itinerary. But knowledgeable crew say privately this was done with the plan of transfering 8 COVID19 positive crew members to the Vision of the Seas which this cruise line is using as another hospital / quarantine ship.

December 29 Evening Update: The number of infected crew member on the Jewel has increased from 10 to a total of at least 21. It remains to be seen how many infected crew members are ttrasfered to the Vision of the Seas.

Image credit: Jewel of the Seas (stock photo)Royal Caribbean Press Center (top); Royal Caribbean Press Release.