Four Cases So Far – More to Come?

Yesterday morning, one guest on the Jewel of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19 after PCR testing. He was initially isolated in his stateroom after the positive test results. He was later  moved to the ship’s “red zone,” which is a designated stateroom on Deck 4 forward.

By yesterday evening, three additional guests, believed to be part of the infected guest’s traveling goup, tested positive after PCR testing aboard the Royal Caribbean cruise ship. Contact tracing is now in progress for those guests who were in close contact with the infected guest as well as those crewmembers who served the passengers on the ship. Guests from fourteen staterooms (double ocupacy) are being tested as part of the contact tracing and they remain isolated in their original staterooms under monitoring by the ship’s security.

Jewel of the Seas Has a History of Positive COVID-19 Cases

This information is being provided by a knowledgeable crew member who wishes to remain anonymous out of fear that he/she might be terminated. The crew member has provided reliable information like this since July of this year. In mid-November we wrote:

. . .  there has been a continuous number of COIVD-19 cases on this ship for the past six weeks as the ship sailed the Greek Isles from its home port of Limassol, Cyprus.  There have been over a hundred positive cases involving guests and crew members on the Jewel of the Seas during this time period, including eight crew members who tested positive as the ship sailed across the Atlantic to South Florida to begin sailing Western Caribbean cruises from Miami.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has a Cruise Ship Color Status Report which shows those cruise ships with reported cases of COVID-19  which, in turn, are either below the threshold for CDC investigation or have met the threshold for CDC investigation.

We wrote that “it remains likely that when the Jewel arrives in Miami, the CDC will place either an orange or yellow color designation for the ship. The CDC did in fact issue a yellow warning on November 16th for the Jewel of the Seas indicating that the Royal Caribbean cruise ship reached the threshold level of COVID-19 cases sufficient for the CDC to initiate an investigation into the disease on the ship.

 

 

The color green is limited only to those cruise ships where there are no reported cases of COVID-19 or CLI (COVID like illness). In this case, the CDC erroneously shows the current color status for the Jewel of the Seas to be green.

It is Imperative for the CDC to Release Accurate and Timely Information About Shipboard Diseases

It appears that the CDC has either not been notified of these positive COVID-19 cases, which admittedly occurred only yesterday, or the federal agency has not been provided with accurate reports from this cruise ship. In any event, we have inquired of the CDC why it posted a green status on its COVID-19 Cruise Ship Color Status Report for this ship.

We have expressed our criticism of the CDC’s color code system system as not providing adequate information regarding the breadth of COVID-19 outbreaks on cruise ships. Travelers cannot determine whether there are two or twenty or two hundred COVID-19  cases. For example, last week the Norwegian Breakaway cruise ship experienced what was reported by the Louisiana Department of Health to be seventeen COVID-19 cases, including at least one case involving the Omicron variant. Because the Louisiana Department of Health, unlike Florida, has adopted a policy of  transparently reporting data, the public learned the precise number of positive virus cases when the ship returned to New Orleans. (We subsequently determined that there was actually twenty positive cases by the time the NCL cruise ship had sailed to Roatan).

Passengers deciding whether to board the infected ship in New Orleans learned of the outbreak on the previous cruise from press reports of the accurate information released by the Losianna Department of Health. They could then make a reasonably informed decision whether they should risk having their family infected. Anywhere from 150 to 400 (based on different crew member and guest estimates) decided not to board the ship.

You can imagine the confusion if the CDC reported simply that the NCL cruise ship was under either a yellow or orange designation. Concerned guests would be in the dark whether there be two or ten or twenty other guests on the prior cruise infected and they probably would not have learned of the color code for the ship until long after it left New Orleans. And no one would have known that the Norwegian Breakaway was the first cruise ship with a crew member (from South Africa) with the  new Omicron variant.

It is inexcusable for the CDC not to have current and accurate information regarding the number of people infected on a cruise ship. To state that the color is green (no cases) when there are in fact positive cases is a disservice to the public. Accurate information from the government is imperative because cruise lines, of course, will make every effort to keep the information secret.

Will the CDC Eventualy Release Accurate Information Before the Jewel of the Seas Leaves On Its Next Cruise?

The current cruise of the Jewel of the Seas is ending on December 18, 2021 in Miami. The Jewel of the Seas departed from Miami on December 12th. It stopped in ports in Quintana Roo, Mexico on December 14th in Costa Maya and in Cozumel on December 15th. The ship is now sailing to Coco Cay in the Bahamas tomorrow. I will eventualy get back to Miami on Saturday.  The ship will quickly leave Miami with its next 1,600 guests.

There are likely to be additional positive COVID-19 cases when the contact tracing and additional testing concludes. There is no information, one way or the other, whether the rapidly speading Omicron variant is involved in any of these cases.

Will the CDC release accurate information by the time that new passengers are preparing to board the Jewel of the Seas on December 18th for the next cruise? Can the public finally see detailed accurate reporting, like the data publicly reported by the Louisiana Deaprtment of Health in the Norwegian Breakaway case, regarding the precise number of guests and crew members who tested positive, whether they are symptomatic and whether the Omicon variant is involved?

If you have any comment or questions, please leave one below, or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

December 17, 2021 2:00 P.M. Update: The CDC just update the color designation for the Jewel of the Seas to yellow indicating that the “reported cases of COVID-19 have met the threshold for CDC investigation.

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

As expected, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a yellow warning today for the Jewel of the Seas indicating that the Royal Caribbean cruise ship reached the threshold level of COVID-19 cases sufficient for the CDC to initiate an investigation into the disease on the ship.

As we have reported in prior articles, there has been a continuous number of COIVD-19 cases on this ship for the past six weeks as the ship sailed the Greek Isles from its home port of Limassol, Cyprus.  There have been over a hundred positive cases involving guests and crew members on the Jewel of the Seas during this time period, including eigth crew members who tested positive as the ship sailed across the Atlantic to South Florida to begin sailing Western Caribbean cruises from Miami.

In our last blog addressing the Jewel of the Seas, we wrote that “it remains likely that when the Jewel arrives in Miami, the CDC will place either an orange or yellow color designation for the ship given the fact that there are crew on the ship who are under quarantine for COVID-19.”

The Jewel of the Seas left Miami yesterday on its first cruise since repositioning to Miami from Cyprus. We reasonably expect that the ship will continue to experience positive COVID-19 cases involving crew members and guests.

There are currently fifteen Royal Caribbean owned cruise ships which the CDC is either investigating or monitoring for COVID-19 cases, including the Allure of the Seas, Anthem of the Seas, Brilliance of the Seas, Jewel of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Navigator of the Seas and Oasis of the Seas. In addition to these Royal Caribbean ships, the Royal Caribbean owned Celebrity Apex, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Reflection, and Celebrity Solstice are also under the scruntiy of the CDC given recent prior COVID-19 cases.

We will report further regarding the the current number of guests on the Jewel of the Seas who recently have tested positive for coronavirus during this cruise.

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page

Image credit: Top – Jewel of the Seas – Dave souza – CC BY-SA 2.5 commons / wikimedia.org; CDC cruise COVID-19 color chart – CDC

The Jewel of the Seas continues its voyage across the Altantic to Miami, after it sailed earlier this week from Gilbraltar.  The ship is scheduled to arrive this Sunday (November 14th) and will then sail on a five-day Western Caribbean cruise on November 15th.

At the end of last month, the Jewel of the Seas ended its sailing season from Limassol, Cyprus where it completed a total of 17 seven-night cruises to the Greek Isles, calling at Piraeus, Rhodes, Crete, Mykonos, Santorini, and back to Limassol. The ship has encountered an ongoing problem with ship employees and guests testing positive for COVID-19 during these cruises.

On November 1st, we reported that thirteen people (nine guests and four crew members) tested positive for the virus. This is in addition to the fifty passengers on this cruise ship who tested positive in the prior thirty day period, as we reported on October 23, 2021.

The latest testing of crew members aboard the Jewel of the Seas resulted in at least six* ship employees testing positive for COVID-19.  These infected crew members were then isolated in the “red zone” onboard the ship, for a fourteen day quarantine.

Four crew members tested positive after PCR tests.  In addition, yesterday, the crew underwent the beginning of TERABio breathing tests for further analysis and testing of COVID-19. The results of the testing showed two additional crew members positive for COVID-19. A ship medical secretary and and a member of the ship’s marine administration both tested positive.

The TERABio  tests continue today. I suspect that there will be additional crew members who test positive for the virus with this testing which are continung now.

The ship’s captain announced over the ship’s PA system to all of the Jewel of the Seas crew members that during the transatlantic voyage to the U.S., certain areas of the ship would be closed and certain crew activities would be cancelled due to new COVID-19 cases. The captain also sent a message to the crew stating that:

  • “Due to C+ cases onboard we will need to shut down a few areas as a precaution:
  • For now the Pools and Jacuzzi’s together with the Sports Court and finally the Crew Gym will not be available.
  • If you wish to utilize the gym, then only the guest gym will be available, and while in the gym the mask will have to be worn at all times together with keeping the Physical distance.
  • Please I urge you all to do your part in keeping the ship safe and healthy.
  • Remember to wear you mask! And to wear it properly!
  • Keep the Physical distance (also while enjoying your meals in the Windjammer).
  • Wash and sanitize your hands frequently.
  • Please share this information with your teams!”

It remains likely that when the Jewel arrives in Miami, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control (CDC) will place either an orange or yellow color designation for the ship given the fact that there are crew on the ship who are under quarantine for COVID-19.

Currently there are 1,020 crew and temporary contractors onboard the ship (there. There are no guests. Upon arrival in Miami, it is expected that approximately 300 crew members will be transferred to some other Royal Caribbean cruise ships, with around 800 crew members remaining  on the Jewel.

This additional information comes from a trusted, knowlegeable and reliable crew member on the Jewel of the Seas who wishes to remain anonymous and remain employed by Royal Caribbean.

Two days ago, there was a Code BRAVO announcement on this ship after smoke came from a lower deck, caused by a chemical reaction. The crew member informed us that “There were no flames. The compartment was isolated and cooled down by spraying water over the surrounding walls. There was nothing serious.”  Cruise blogger CruiseMiss initially reported the incident on her Facebook page.

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

*/November 12, 2021 Update: The TERABio breathing tests revealed a total of four additional crew members now positive with COIVD-19, bringing total number of crew members to eight: one medical secretary, one marine administrative assistant, one security guard and one facility cleaner.

Photo credits: Jewel of the Seas Greel Isles –  Royal Caribbean Press Center (top); Royal Caribbean Press Release (middle); Map of Jewel of the Seas – (bottom) – MarineTraffic

The Jewel of the Seas just ended its summer season sailing out of Cyprus with more disappointing COVID-19 test results. Thirteen people (nine guests and four crew members) tested positive for the virus at the end of last week. This is in addition to the fifty passengers on this cruise ship who tested positive in the prior thity day period, as we reported on October 23, 2021.

This information comes from a trusted and knowlegeable crew member on the Jewel of the Seas who wishes to remain anonymous and remain employed by Royal Caribbean.

Earlier last week, a family of four on the ship was the subject of discussions betwen ship management and port authroties in one of the ports of call, Chania, after three of the family members tested positive for COVID-19. The mother and two of the couple’s minor children tested positive (the father was considered to be a close contact). The ship ordered the family, which were staying in two staterooms, into isolation. The initial plans were for the family to be disembarked in the port in Chania (in Crete, Greece). The Greek authorities nixed the plan to send them ashore and the family remained in isolation until the ship returned to the home port in Limassol.

In addition to these three positive guests, six additional passengers tested positive for COVID-19.  In addition to these nine guests, four crew members tested positive for COVID-19 as well.

The guests who tested positive were taken by ambulance to villas in Limassol where they will be expected to remain in isolation.

The Jewel of the Seas is now sailing across the Mediteranean Sea to Gibraltar before begining its voyage across the Atlantic Ocean to Miami where it is scheduled to arrive on November 14th and then sail on a five-day Western Caribbean cruise on November 15th.

It is anticipated that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prvention (CDC) will designate the ship as falling under either yellow or orange color codes given the fact that the ship has rountinely experienced anywhere from a few to over twently positive COVID-19 cases per cruise for the past two months,

As of today’s date, there are at least six Royal Caribbean-operated cruise ships (the Allure of the Seas, Independence of the Seas, Liberty of the Seas, Mariner of the Seas, Serenade of the Seas and Symphony of the Seas) which the CDC is either currently monitoring or investigating COVID-19 outbreaks.

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Top and bottom – Jewel of the SeasRoyal Caribbean Press Center

This morning the Jewel of the Seas returned to the ship’s home port of Limassol, Cyprus after a one week cruise around the Greek Isles. Yesterday, the ship conducted a routine test for the COVID-19 virus of all of the 1,100 or so guests on the ship. According to a crew member on the cruise ship who wishes to continue to remain anonymous, eleven passengers tested positive for the virus.

In addition to these guests, the whole team (nine) of the ship’s dancers are under quarantine on board.

In the last thirty days, we have learned that there have been a total of around fifty positive COVID-19 cases of passengers on this same cruise ship. More specifically, on the cruise which departed from Limassol on September 25th, we reported that there was a total of twenty-one cases involving guests on the Royal Caribbean ship.

On October 2nd, we reported that there were twelve guests who tested positive on the next cruise on the Jewel.

There have been at least a handful of positive cases involving guests on each cruise on this ship this summer. The total does not include the number of crew members who tested positive for the virus over the past month.

Royal Caribbean is continuing to take aggressive steps to try and reduce the number of COVID-19 cases involving its crew members and guests on this ship after experiencing a higher than normal number of positive virus cases in the last several weeks.

Eighty percent of guests on the ship have  been from UK which is still experiencing a high number of COVID-19 outbreaks. BBC News recently published an article titled Covid: Why are UK cases so high? which explained that COVID-19 cases in the U.K. have soared to to more than 50,000 cases a day, although it is less likely that the infected will end up in the hospital or die.

The Jewel of the Seas will be re-positioned in mid-November to South Florida where it will be sailing  on a Western Caribbean itinerary of cruises from five to ten days long. The ship will sail from Miami until mid-May of 2022 when it will be repositioned and sail from Amsterdam. The company obviously wishes to reduce the number of positive virus cases it has been experiencing before it begins sailing out of U.S. waters where it will fall within the jurisdiction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

There have been a number of sailings of Royal Caribbean crusie ships where at least a dozen or more passengers and crew became infected with COVID-19. Ten days ago, we reported that fifteen crew members on the Allure of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19.

Two days ago, a crew member on Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas tested positive after several tests. The ship wa scheduled to depart from Hong Kong but the local health department intervened and prohibited the ship from leaving port. Several thousands of guests had to depart the ship and the cruise was cancelled.

Royal Caribbean, like most cruise lines, does not voluntarily disclose the number of guests and crew members who are infected during cruises on its ships, althought this basic information is vital to understanding the risk of infection which a consumer encounters while cruising.

This afternoon the Jewel of the Seas set sail with approximately 1,200 guests on another week-long cruise around the Greek Isles.

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

October 26, 2021 Update: A guest on the Jewel of the Seas commented on Twitter that he was “extremely disappointed with the standard of entertainment on Jewel of the Seas this week” and that Royal Caribbean had the “audacity to show a movie in the theatre . . . ” It appears that the quarantine of the ship’s dancers is having an effect on the type of entertainment which the ship is able to offer its guests?

Image credit: Jewel of the Seas – Royal Caribbean

Four crew members on the Jewel of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19 last week. The Royal Caribbean cruise ship is currently sailing on an  itinerary around the Greek islands.

Last week, we reported that three crew members on the Jewel of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19.

This information, as well as our prior reports of COVID outbreaks on this particular cruise ship, are provided by an inside source of information (a reliable crew member who wishes to continue to remain anonymous).

Royal Caribbean requires its ship employees to be fully vaccinated. Most of the crew are vaccinated with the AstraZeneca vaccine.

Royal Caribbean is continuing to take aggressive steps to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases involving its crew members and guests on this ship after experiencing a higher than normal number of positive virus cases in the last several weeks.

The ship will be re-positioned to South Florida in mid-November where it will be sailing from Miami on a Western caribbean itinerary of cruises from five to ten days long. The ship will sail from Miami until mid-May of 2022 when it will then sail from Amsterdam. The company wishes to reduce the number of positive cases before it begins sailing out of U.S. waters where it will fall within the jurisdiction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the last month, we have learned that there were two one-week cruises involving a combined total of thirty-three positive COVID-19 cases. More specifically, on September 29th, we reported that there was a total of twenty-one cases involving guests on the ship a week earlier. Most recently (October 2nd), there were twelve guests who tested positive on the Jewel.

Five guests on the Jewel of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19, as we reported on September 18th.

The local media in Cyprus reported on prior COVID-19 cases on this ship. On August 9th, KNEWS in Cyprus reported that “six passengers on a cruise had tested positive for Covid, four vaccinated – three of them asymptomatic and one with mild symptoms- while two were unvaccinated minors.” On July 21st, KNEWS also reported that “two guests tested positive for Covid-19.”

In total, based on the local press and information from knowledgeable crew members on the ship, there have been at least fifty (50) guests and crew members who have tested positive for COVID-19 on the Jewel of the Seas in the last nine weeks. There are likely more cases than this, as there are at least a few positive crew members and guest COVID-19 cases during each and every cruise.

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Jewel of the Seas – Royal Caribbean Cruises, Ltd.

Three crew members on the Jewel of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19 this week.  I received this additional information from a trusted crew member who wishes to continue to remain anonymous.  The infected crew members, which include the hotel maintenance manager, a cook and one stateroom attendant, were confirmed positive for the virus after PCR  testing. They were then sent into isolation.

Royal Caribbean is taking aggressive steps to reduce the number of COVID-19 cases involving its crew members and guests after experiencing a higher than normal number of positive virus cases in the last two weeks.

The ship will be re-positioned to South Florida in mid-November where it will be sailing from Miami on a Western caribbean itinerary of cruises from five to ten days long. The ship will sail from Miami until mid-May when it will then sail from Amsterdam. The company wishes to reduce the number of positive cases before it begins sailing out of U.S. waters where it will fall within the jurisdiction of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

In the last month, we have learned that there were two one-week cruises involving a combined total of thirty-three positive COVID-19 cases. More specifically, on September 29th, we reported that there was a total of twenty-one cases involving guests on the ship a week earlier. Most recently (October 2nd), there were twelve guests who tested positive on the Jewel.

Five guests on the Jewel of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19, as we reported on September 18th.

The local media in Cyprus reported on prior COVID-19 cases on this ship. On August 9th, KNEWS in Cyprus reported that “six passengers on a cruise had tested positive for Covid, four vaccinated – three of them asymptomatic and one with mild symptoms- while two were unvaccinated minors.” On July 21st, KNEWS also reported that “two guests tested positive for Covid-19.”

In total, based on the local press and information from knowledgeable crew members on the ship, there have been at least forty-six (46) guests and crew members who have tested positive for COVID-19 on the Jewel of the Seas in the last two months. There are likely more cases than this, as there are at least a few positive crew members and guest COVID-19 cases during each and every cruise.

Royal Caribbean, of course, is one of several cruise lines which does not voluntarily release such information to the public.

Royal Caribbean has taken the following steps to reduce the number of positive COVID-19 cases during its latest cruise on the Jewel; 

  • All crew tours and crew “shore excursion observer programs” are cancelled. (Crew observer programs involve the use of crew members as escorts to monitor guest behavior during shore excursions);
  • Crew bar is closed;
  • All meetings in interior rooms are canceled; and
  • Santorini sail away party (for guests) is cancelled.

Unfortunately, there are essentially only two ways to obtain realistic information regarding the number of COVID-19 cases on cruise ships. “Whistle-blower” crew members who release data directly to us, despite facing the the risk of being terminated from their employment, are one reliable source of information. Employees of port authorities, who also face the same risk, are an equally important source. The second source are local newspapers, which sometimes also use unnamed sources.

In a video recently posted to YouTube, Royal Caribbean Group CEO Richard Fain said his company (which includes Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea) has experienced only a minimum number of positive COVID-19 cases. CEO Fain claimed: “We’ve carried over half-a-million guests, and only had 141 cases among those 500,000 people.”

Its hard to believe that such statistics are accurate when the Jewel of the Seas alone experienced at least forty-six guests who have tested positive for COVID-19 in the last two months alone.  Royal Caribbean has historically shown that it is far more transparent than most cruise lines, particularly companies like Carnival or MSC Cruises, but it seems that it too may be caught up in the “everything is okay” hype associated in last week’s Seatrade Cruise Global conference.

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the conversation on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Jewel of the Seas – top – Jemingway CC BY SA 2.0 via Flickr ; bottom – User:Dave Souza – CC BY-SA 2.5 commons / wikimedia.

The Jewel of the Seas again is in our focus, as the Royal Caribbean cruise ship had another unusually high number of positive COVID-19 cases this week amongst its guests, according to a trusted crew member who wishes to remain anonymous. According to this crew member, yesterday twelve passengers tested positive for the virus using both antigen and PCR testing performed by Euofins Tesing Services. The crew member did not communicate any current information regarding the number of crew members who are currently infected with COVID-19.

Guests who tested positive for COVID-19 were transported by ambulances this morning, when the ship returned to its home port, to villas in Limassol for quarantine with insructions that they cannot fly home until and unless they test negaive for the virus. The ship again performed extensive sanitation for the incoming new passengers who boarded today.  The ship is sailing with a reduced guest capacity of around 1,100 guests.

There was a conference call between shoreside management in Miami and top shipboard managment this morning. Shoreside remains concerned with the relatively high number of COVID-19 cases on board the ship.  The ship still has four more cruises before making the upcoming transatlantic crossing to Miami.

One week ago there were twenty-one positive COVID-19 cases involving guests and two weeks before that there were five positive cases among the guests.

It is the policy of Royal Caribbean that guests ages 12 or older must be fully vaccinated in order to sail. All crew members are required to be vaccinated. Most crew members have received Astrazeneca injections.

The ship is currently departing from Limasoll, Cyrprus on a seven day cruise around the Greek Isles. Two guests were denied boarding earlier this morning after they tested positive per the PCR tesing at the terminal. Tomorrow the ship intends to test the occupants, of some twenty cabins on the ship, who took the same bus as the two infected guests.

Have a comment or a question? Please leave one below or join the discusson on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Top – Royal Caribbean; bottom – Dave Souza –  CC BY-SA 2.5 commons /  wikimedia.

Twenty-one (21) guests aboard the Jewel of the Seas were positive after antigen testing last week, according to a trusted crew member on the ship, who wishes to stay anonymous. Five (5) guests were positive upon additional PCR testing.  Two guests were symptomatic and received treatment in the onboard medical facility. Four guests left the cruise ship via ambulances at the end of the cruise.

The tests were taken on Friday, September 24th, on the last day of the seven night cruise from Limassol, Cyprus around the Greek islands.

The Royal Caribbean cruise ship carried around 1,100 passengers during the cruise.

The infected guests disembarked the ship in Limassol, Cyprus on Saturday, September 25th. On the same day, the ship departed on the next cruise to Rhodes Island, Greece. The ship was  in Mykonos on Monday and Piraeus yesterday, and is calling on Santorini Island today. The ship is reportedly at level MAX 1, which involves enhanced sanitizing during this cruise. It is scheduled to return to Limassol this weekend.

When infections occur on this particular itinerary, the cruise line is required to report the cases to health authorities in Cyprus. The theory is that the ship is required to be in compliance with EU public health standards.

All crew members are required to be vaccinated. Most crew members have received Astrazeneca injections.

It is the policy of Royal Caribbean that guests ages 12 or older must be fully vaccinated in order to sail.

This same cruise ship on a prior cruise two weeks ago had five guests who tested positive for COVID-19, as we reported on September 18th. These prior cases involved breakthrough infections as well. The crew member informed me that the twenty-one positive results represent a “record” number of cases for this ship. “Usually there are only 2 or 3 cabins with positive test results.”

Most cruise ships sailing today are experiencing some number of breakthrouh infections of vaccinated guests or crew members. There are many Royal Caribbean ships as well as literally dozens of other cruise ships which have experienced a relatively small number of positive cases (from a few to around eight or so).

Certain cruise lines, particularly Carnival and MSC Cruises, are consistently refusing to disclose the number of infected passengers and crew members on their ships. In my view, it is important to report whenever there are positive cases duting a cruise, particlarly when there is a significant outbreak. Families deserve 100% transparency in considering risks to their health and safety when deciding to travel.

Meanwhile, at the annual cruise trade association conference, Seatrade Cruise Global, the CEO’s of the major cruise lines are touting few problems related to COVID-19. Royal Caribbean’s CEO Rihard Fain even predicts that cruising will be back at 100% in just ninety days:

In truth, there are an increasing number of “super-spreader” cruises taking place, that the cruise lines are trying to cover-up, like on the Carnival Vista six weeks ago and, more recently, on the MSC Virtuosa over the course of the last several weeks. MSC Cruises has experienced over two hundred guests and crew members infected on the Virtuosa alone, including several guests who have died. This cruise line simply refuses to comunicate transparently with either the victims or the press.

Meanwhile, another Carnival cruise ship, the Carnival Miracle, experienced at least a dozen COVID-19 cases involving guests, including one respiratory-related death, following a recent cruise to and from Alaska. We will be reporting on this cruise in more detail shortly.

Have a comment or question? Please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Image Credit: Jewel of the Seas – Top – Jemingway CC BY SA 2.0 via Flickr; Jewel of the Seas – Middle – Dave Souza – CC BY-SA 2.5, commons / wikimedia.

Five guests are positive for COVID-19 on Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas, (according to a reliable crew member (who wishes to remain anonymous) on the cruise ship and is familiar with the testing of passengers and crew members.

The infected guests were moved to what the crew calls the “red zone” for isolation onboard the cruise ship.

These passengers were disembarked today in Cyprus.

The COVID-19 tests on the Jewel are performed by a company called “Eurofins” which conducts the Antigen and PCR tests onboard. The crew member explained that Eurofins usually performs tests on crew members on days 2 and 3 of the week-long cruise. Guests are usually tested near the end of the cruise.

Virtually all cruise ships today are experiencing either some number of crew members who test positive or a handful of passengers who turn out to have the virus, notwithstanding the fact that they are already vaccinated. Certain cruise lines are consistently refusing to disclose the number of infected passengers and crew members on their ships.  A month ago, we published a short article titled Infected at Sea – The New Normal on Cruise Ships?  Of course, there is also an increasing number of “super-spreader” cruises taking place, that the cruise lines are trying to cover-up, like on the Carnival Vista last month and, more recently, on the MSC Virtuosa over the course of the last several weeks.

If these infections on the Jewel involve the highly contagious Delta variant, the R0 (pronounced “R naught”) (the mathematical term which indicates how contagious the infectious disease is) is as high as “7” or  “8.”  Each person infected is likely to infect 7 or 8 others. The virus on the Diamond Princess, in contrast, had a R0 of  only “2.”

The Jewel of the Seas departed from Limassol, Cyprus a week ago on September 11th. The Royal Caribbean ship visited ports in Greece including Rhodes Island, Mykonos Island, Piraeus, and Santorini Island. The ship returned to Cyprus today.

Are you aware of a COVID-19 outbreak on a cruise ship? Let us hear from you in the comment section below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Image credit: Jewel of the Seas – Top – Dave Souza – CC BY-SA 2.5, commons / wikimedia; bottom – Royal Caribbean.