On December 1, 2022, a lifeboat from Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas detached from its davits and fell aft-first into the water.

Captain Francesco Suma explained that the ship’s number 12 lifeboat, on the port side of the vessel, “hit the deck of the cruise ship, before falling over the side and into the water. As it settled into the water, the bow of the lifeboat also struck the side of the cruise ship. The lifeboat was retrieved with large dents and cracks on the starboard aft corner of the lifeboat, as well as damage to the fiberglass underside of the lifeboat.”

The lifeboat accident occurred during what appears to have been crew training or tendering operations.

You can watch a video by Royal Caribbean showing lifeboat testing being conducted by the company at a port in Barbados (screengrab image top).

This is not the first time that a lifeboat fell off of a cruise ship.

Empty Lifeboat Accidents

In December 2018, a lifeboat broke free from the Carnival Dream in the Gulf of Mexico as the Carnival cruise ship was sailing back to New Orleans on December 30th. Initial reports suggested that the lifeboat (photo right) sheered from the davit hook and fell into the water. Fortunately, there was no one in the lifeboat at the time.

Earlier in 2018,  a lifeboat on P&O’s Arcadia broke from its cabling and fell from its davits into the sea while the cruise ship was in Ponta Delgada, Azores.

In 2017, a lifeboat broke free from Royal Caribbean’s Grandeur of the Seas in the port of Charleston due to a frayed cable.

In 2013, a cable to a lifeboat on Royal Caribbean’s Allure of the Seas  snapped while the cruise ship was in Nassau.

All of these incidents occurred when there were no passengers or crew members aboard the lifeboats. Unfortunately, most lifeboats failures occur as they are being improperly raised or lowered with crew members aboard them.

Many Deadly Lifeboat Accidents

In September of 2016, two crew members were killed and other crew members were critically injured after a lifeboat fell from the Harmony of the Seas, which was docked in Marseilles, France. Five members of the ship’s navigation crew were on board during a drill when the lifeboat became detached and fell ten meters into the water.

Eight crew members were in a lifeboat during a drill in 2013 on the Thomson Majesty cruise ship when the lifeboat plunged 60 feet into the water. The lifeboat landed upside down. Five of the crew were killed and three were injured.

In July of 2016, a rescue boat drill resulted in the boat falling into the water with four crew members from the Norwegian Breakaway while the cruise ship was in Bermuda. Two crew members were killed and two other seriously injured.

Between these two events, there have been several other lifeboat mishaps. In January of 2016, a cruise ship tender boat on the Balmoral operated by Fred Olsen Lines malfunctioned, during a scheduled boat training drill while the cruise ship was docked in Funchal, Madeira. Fortunately, no one was injured. In August 2015, an excursion boat from the Costa Mediterranea (photo right) apparently broke a cable while it was being lowered in Montenegro. Photographs sent to me shows what appears to be a lifeboat dangling on the side of the Costa cruise ship. In October 2014, a rescue boat on the Coral Princess was being raised on davits with two crew members aboard when a cable snapped and a crew member was killed.

There is a popular saying that lifeboat drills kill or seriously injure more people than save lives.

I first read about the Quantum of the Seas  lifeboat failure in an article posted by the popular Cruise Hive blog.

Quantum of the Seas is on a 10-night round-trip cruise from Brisbane, Australia, and was visiting Mystery Island in Vanuatu on the day of the incident, according to Cruise Hive.

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

Screengrab of Royal Caribbean testing lifeboats from Quantum of the Seas– Royal Caribbean; video of Quantum of the Seas lifeboat accident – Kyle Davis YouTube; Carnival Dream lifeboat – Mumstravelblog.

A number of news outlets in Australia are reporting that the Queen Elizabeth cruise ship is experiencing a COVID-19 outbreak. The country of Indonesia took the extraordinary step of blocking the Cunard ship from calling at port in Bali.

Neither the cruise operator (Cunard) nor ship owner (Carnival Corporation) would disclose the number of infected passengers or crew members.  The Sydney Morning Herald reported that Cunard admitted “there was an ‘elevated level of transmission’ on board, but declined to provide case numbers.”

The Sydney Morning Herald states that authorities in Indonesian requested the Queen Elizabeth to abandon the Balinese leg of its 17-day tour, following a COVID-19 outbreak on board.

“The Queen Elizabeth left Sydney on November 15, stopping at Airlie Beach, Cairns, Port Douglas and Darwin, but will cut short the final week of its tour and head straight to Fremantle.”

ABC News in Australia reports that the “WA (West Australia) government said it had received information that 10 to 15 percent of the people on board are COVID-positive.”

With nearly 2,100 passengers and a crew of around 1,000, that means that between 310 and 465 people on the Cunard ship were positive for COVID-19.

The Australian newspaper added that the “abandonment of the ship’s Bali tour follows the berthing of the Majestic Princess in Sydney earlier this month, carrying 800 COVID-positive passengers and crew.”

There has been a trend of cruise ships calling on Australian ports in the last month with a significant number of passengers and crew members positive for COVID-19:

Majestic Princess – 800 infected guests (Sydney)

Quantum of the Seas – 400 infected guests (heading toward Queensland)

Coral Princess – 290 infected guests and crew (Fremantle);

Grand Princess – 200 infected guests (Melbourne);

Ovation of the Seas – 129 infected guests and 2 crew member (New Zealand)

Majestic Princess – 116 infected guests (Tahiti).

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

Photo Credit: Queen Elizabeth – Screen grab 9 News Australia.

A passenger on the Carnival Valor who went overboard sometime after 11:00 p.m. Wednesday night was rescued by the U.S. Coast Guard the following day around 8:25 p.m.

The passenger and his sister were reportedly at a bar on the ship Wednesday evening when he left around 11 P.M. to use the restroom and never returned. His sister reported her brother missing to Carnival around noon yesterday. Carnival finally reported the man missing to the Coast Guard around 2:30 p.m. on Thanksgiving Day. The Coast Guard, in turn, issued a mariner’s alert to other vessels in the Gulf of Mexico to be on the lookout.

Carnival turned its cruise ship around 2:30 p.m. around  after it was notified at noon of the missing guest. Its delayed search was unsuccessful.

An anchorwoman from a news station (WWLTV) tweeted around 7:00 p.m. that the Coast Guard was still searching for the missing passenger.

The Coast Guard deployed a rescue boat from Venice, Louisiana, a helicopter from New Orleans, and two C-130 aircraft from Clearwater, Florida and Mobile, Alabama.  The overboard man was not rescued until a vessel in the area eventually located him.  Around 8:30 p.m., a cargo ship identified as CRINIS spotted the man in the water and alerted the Coast Guard which dispatched a MH-60 Jayhawk Helicopter aircrew which “hoisted the man onto the helicopter.”  The man is hospitalized in a stable condition, according to WWLTV.

The Coast Guard states that the man could have been in the water for as long as 15 hours. However, if the guest went overboard shortly after he left the cruise ship bar at 11:00 p.m. and was not located and rescued until 8:25 p.m. (per the Coast Guard), it seems that he may have been in the water for as long as around 21 hours.

This overboard case, albeit ending successfully, is yet another example that Carnival owned and operated cruise ships are not equipped with automatic man overboard systems. The 2010 Vessel Security and Safety Act requires cruise ships to be equipped with systems which utilize radar and motion detection sensors to alert the bridge whenever someone goes over the rails of the ship. With such systems, officer in the bridge will be automatically notified when a person goes into the water and the person can be tracked even at nighttime by the radar and infrared technology.

Here are just a couple of automatic man overboard systems available to the cruise industry (there are several others):

MARSS Mobtronic

Pure Tech

No Carnival owned ships have such technology even though it is readily available, effective and affordable.  Such systems cost only a few hundred thousand dollars to install.

There have been 373 people overboard from cruise ships in the last two decades per the data provided by cruise expert Dr.Ross Klein.

There have been other miracle rescues of cruise ship passengers and crew members before.

In June of 2018, a crew member on Norwegian Cruise Line fell overboard in the sea north of Cuba  and was rescued by a passing Carnival ship nearly a day later. (Read: How often do people fall overboard on cruise ships? by Rosie Spinks in Quartz).

In August 2018, a heavily intoxicated 46 year-old guest fell from the Norwegian Star and was eventually rescued, around 35 hours later, by the Croatian Coast Guard after the NCL abandoned the search for the overboard guest.

In January 2015, a heavily intoxicated man (who consumed 22 drinks in under 4 hours) climbed on the top of a lifeboat and fell overboard as the Oasis of the Seas headed to Cozumel, Mexico. Later that day, the Disney Dream, also sailing to Cozumel, spotted the overboard man and rescued him.  The Royal Caribbean cruise ship did not even realize that one of its guests went overboard.

The incidents above all involved cruise lines which failed to install automatic man overboard systems.

Only around 15% of people who fall from cruise ships are rescued according to Dr. Klein’s data.

The last person who went overboard from the Carnival Valor occurred in February of this year when a 32 year-old guest went overboard while the ship was cruising to Cozumel.

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

Photo Credit: Carnival ValorMason Piscitelli – CC BY-SA 4.0 commons  / wikimedia.

Last week, a Brazilian male crew member on the Wonder of the Seas reportedly ended his life on the Royal Caribbean cruise ship after leaving Port Canaveral. Crew Center stated that the unnamed crew member “apparently died of suicide and left a note before his death along with a video on social media.”

” . . . the crew member requested to sign off to return home due to some related to a poor situation back home after his contract was extended (but) . . . his request was denied. Some crew members said that he also had some back-home issues. The talk amongst crew members is that this might have been the trigger for the alleged suicide. Crew Center has contacted several crew members who have confirmed the death saying that the crew member was working as a galley steward . . .

This tragedy is another sad reminder that mental health professionals are needed on board in order to provide direct support 24/7 for crew members and talk with each one about their concerns, challenges and fears. The mental health and wellbeing of the crew needs to be the main focus among the shipboard management as well.”

At least twenty-five Royal Caribbean ship employees have gone overboard within the past thirteen years. A couple of years ago, I wrote about the problem of crew members going missing from Royal Caribbean cruise ships without explanation. During a period of less than four years between 2009 and 2013, at least thirteen crew members went over the rails of Royal Caribbean (and subsidiary Celebrity) cruise ships, including the Majesty of the Seas, Monarch of the Seas (twice), Radiance of the Seas, Explorer of the Seas, Oasis of the Seas, Grandeur of the Seas, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Eclipse, Celebrity Summit, and Serenade of the Seas (two). Most of these cases were never investigated by the flag state, which, it seems, could not care less.

The majority of the Royal Caribbean crew members disappeared mysteriously and appeared to have ended their lives intentionally. The last Royal Caribbean ship employee to go overboard was a 27 year old  crew member from Poland who disappeared from the Jewel of the Seas off of the coast of Greece in May of 2021. Closed-circuit camera on the cruise ship showed him jumping from the cruise ship.

Before that, a ship employee, reportedly from India, went overboard from the Odyssey of the Seas in April of 2021 as the Royal Caribbean cruise ship sailed south of Cyprus en route to Haifa.

A 35 year-old crew member from India went overboard from the Rhapsody of the Seas in September of 2019.

A  Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard from the Majesty of the Seas in January of 2019.

A young Celebrity Cruises officer hung himself on the Celebrity Millennium, on December 6, 2018.

Another Royal Caribbean crew member, a performer, age 20, of the United Kingdom, went overboard from the Harmony of the Seas the day after Christmas of 2018.

A Royal Caribbean crew member disappeared from the Adventure of the Seas at the end of November of 2018.

A crew member went overboard from the Celebrity Reflection in October of 2018.

A Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard in an apparent suicide from the Vision of the Seas in December of 2017.

A Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard from the Liberty of the Seas in April of 2017.

A Royal Caribbean crew member went overboard from the Independence of the Seas in August of 2014.

A Celebrity crew member disappeared at sea from the Celebrity Constellation in January of 2014.

Royal Caribbean has built its reputation on building super-sized cruise ships like the Oasis of the Seas, Allure of the Seas, Wonder of the Seas and, most recently, Ion of the Seas. These monsters cost literally billions of dollars to construct. Yet, Royal Caribbean does not employ mental health counselors on its fleet despite the fact that at least twenty-five crew members ended their lives on the ships.

I previously described this sad state of affairs in an article titled Misery Machines and Crew Member Suicides.

Condolences to this unidentified crew member’s family and friends as well as his teammates who he left behind.

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

We suggest reading: Is Royal Caribbean Working Its Crew Members to Death?

Royal Caribbean Unreasonably Delays Reporting Overboard Crew Member from Vision of the Seas.

Misery Machines and Crew Member Suicides.

Photo Credit: Top- Wonder of the Seas – ND44 – CC BY-SA 4.0 commons / wikimedia; Jewel of the Seas – Dave Souza – CC BY-SA 2.5 commons / wikimedia; Royal Caribbean promotional video of the Harmony of the Seas;  Oasis of the Seas -Baldwin040 –  CC BY-SA 3.0 commons / wikimedia; Vision of the Seas – crew member with red bucket – Bahamas Maritime Authority.

7NEWS Australia reports today that 200 passengers infected with COVID-19 disembarked from the Grand Princess in Melbourne, Australia after the Princess cruise ship completed a thirteen-day around-trip to New Zealand. There are no public accounts of the number of infected crew members.

7News Australia reports on its Facebook page that “200 COVID positive patients have been allowed to come ashore in Melbourne after they were caught up in a cruise ship nightmare. Some had been stuck in tiny cabins with limited supplies for up to eight days before they were allowed to disembark.”

In an article titled “COVID-Infested Cruise Ship Docks in Melbourne,” 3AW 693 News Talk interviewed a passenger on the Grand Princess. The guest, who was not positive with COVID-19, commented that she did not notice other people on the ship coughing or exhibiting signs of the virus. But she said that there was no general testing of guests whatsoever during the nearly two-week cruise.  The majority of the passengers left the ship without being tested, thus obviously leading to additional potential transmission and spread of the virus.

With Australia recently opening up for cruises, there has been a spate of COVID19 outbreaks on cruises calling on Australian ports:

Majestic Princess800 infected guests (Sydney)

Quantum of the Seas400 infected guests (heading toward Queensland)

Coral Princess – 290 infected guests and crew (Fremantle);

Ovation of the Seas – 129 infected guests and 2 crew member (New Zealand)

Majestic Princess – 116 infected guests (Tahiti).

On just three Princess cruise ships (Grand Princess, Majestic Princess and Coral Princess), there have been a total of over 1,400 passengers infected with COVID-19. Although a Princess Cruise spokesperson said that the COVID-positive cases onboard are either “asymptomatic or mildly symptomatic,” the truth of the matter is that “in a well-rehearsed routine, ambulances ferried the sickest to hospitals and the others were told to go home and isolate.” (see Newshub “COVID-19: Ambulances meet cruise ship in Sydney after hundreds of passengers get infected.”

In the beginning of the coronavirus outbreak on the Diamond Princess back in 2020, I asked Princess Cruises whether the virus could be spread through airborne particles. In response to my inquiry in mid-February 2020 which I posted on Twitter (along with a photo of Princess crew members huddled together in a hallway in the crew area), Princess Cruises wrongfully denied that the virus can be transmitted through the air. It cited to the World Health Organization that the virus is allegedly “mainly” transmitted via droplets from close person to person contact.

It remains surreal to see thousands of cruise guests packed together in the small confines of a Princess cruise ship, breathing the same air and risking exposure to an airborne virus.

The Grand Princess is now scheduled to cruise to Sydney and other ports in Australia.

Unfortunately, the Australian NSW government’s travel website list, under the title “Update on cruise vessel COVID-19 status” (last updated November 16th), does not indicate a percentage of passengers and crew who have tested positive to COVID-19 in the last seven days for this particular cruise ship.” (Tier 1 is “0.0% to <3%.” Tier 2 is “3% to <10%.” Tier 3 is “=10%.) There is no official indication nor warning that the Grand Princess is sailing with around 10% of the approximate 2,000 passengers infected with COVID-19.

In an opinion piece in the Sydney Morning Herald, Margot Saville made the point that Australia has learned precisely nothing from the Ruby Princess COVID-19 debacle in 2020, which led to the deaths of 28 people and unleashed a wave of the virus that could have overwhelmed the Australian health system. She asked rhetorically “should a behemoth like the Majestic Princess be free to flush out more than 660 sick passengers into the community” with nothing more than a warning to stay off public transport?

The same question should be asked of Princess Cruises after the Grand Princess, Majestic Princess and Coral Princess have dumped over 1,400 infected guests ashore in Australian ports and smaller communities ashore?

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

Image credit: Grand Princess – screengrab from 7 News Australia YouTube

Princess Cruises’ Majestic Princess returned to Sydney this morning after a twelve-day cruise which left  port on October 31st. There reportedly are now over eight hundred (800) active COVID-19 cases on this ship. This is the biggest single outbreak since the Ruby Princess cruise ship arrived in Sydney in March 2020 with 900 infected passengers.

A Princess Cruises’ spokesperson claims that the infected cruise guests are “mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic and are isolating in their staterooms” and all “unimpacted guests are wearing masks and this will continue when they disembark in Sydney on 12 November.”

But at least one media outlet, 9 News in Sydney, reports that “medical evacuations are required” of sick passengers once the Princess cruise ship docks in Sydney.

There is some ambiguity regarding exactly how many cruise passengers and crew members are infected with the virus.  There is no legal mandatory requirement for owners or operators of cruise ships to publicly disclose the number of COVID-19 cases on their cruise ships.  Although Princess Cruises did in fact confirm that there is a COVID-19 outbreak on the Majestic Princess, none of the news outlets in Australia indicated that the cruise line disclosed the number of infected passengers or crew members.  Some accounts mention that around twenty-five percent of the guests were positive for the virus; 25% of the 3,300 passengers would be around 825 infected guests. None of the Australian news media commented on how many crew members of the 1,300 ship employees are infected.

New South Wales (NSW) has a three tier reporting system where it reports and ranks cruise ships calling on NSW ports according to the percentage of cruise passengers and crew who test positive for COVID-19.  NSW Health lists “% of Passengers & Crew Onboard who have Tested Positive to COVID-19 in Last 7 Days:” Tier 1 is “0.0% to <3%.” Tier 2 is “3% to <10%.” Tier 3 is “≥10%.” According to NSW Health, tier 3 likely results in a “operational compromise” of a cruise ship due to:

  • Major impact to staffing and/or resource shortages.
  • Unable to maintain critical services and/or imminent cessation of critical services. (Example: Reduction in critical staffing or resources that cannot be compensated (such as impact to healthcare workers, engineering staff, or shortages of food or PPE).

The Majestic Princess is currently designated at Tier 3 (risk level 3 of 3).

The Princess cruse ship just finished its last cruise which called on six ports in New Zealand.

There are dozens of people tweeting their concerns that the Majestic Princess has been spreading COVID-19 in all of these ports of call. Others have rhetorically asked on Twitter: “Where precisely in an overburdened health system do they have room for this?” NSW Health recently concluded that COVID-19 itself has been associated with an increase in out of hospital cardiac arrest and sudden deaths in young people.

This is not the first recent COVID-19 outbreak on the Majestic Princess which was quarantined after arriving in Tahiti last month with at least 116 cases of COVID-19, according to a local newspaper.

In the last ten days, we reported that there were at least 290 people on the Coral Princess and over 400 people infected with COVID-19 on the Quantum of the Seas when these cruise ships ported in Australia.

The over 800 people infected with COVID-19 on the Majestic Princess is the biggest single outbreak since the Ruby Princess cruise ship arrived in Sydney in March 2020 with 900 infected passengers, 28 of whom died prompting a class action case against Princess Cruises. 

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

Image credit: Majestic Princess – カテキン – CC BY-SA 4.0 commons / wikimedia.

Multiple passengers were injured when a gangway with nearly a dozen passengers on it collapsed after the Norwegian Encore called at port in Panama City, Panama on Tuesday, according to USA Today. The NCL cruise ship is currently on a twenty-one day Panama Canal cruise from Seattle to Miami where the ship will arrive on Sunday.

The injured passengers were taken to a nearby medical facility, a NCL spokesperson told USA TODAY in an emailed statement: “We have dispatched our CARE Team to Panama City to offer additional support to these guests.”

NCL did not mention the number of injured guests, the severity of their injuries, or the reason for the gangway collapse.

A passenger and former journalist who was on the NCL cruise ship who identified herself as JournoGenevieve tweeted photos and video and explained that there were at least nine guests who were injured and taken away by at least six ambulances. She later updated her Twitter feed to state that she learned that “11 passengers were on (the gangway) at the time. All appeared to have been medically disembarked before we left port at 7pm.”

The gangway was located from deck six leading down to the concrete pier below.

This passenger surmised that the accident occurred because “the gangway was put out during low tide in the morning at a fairly reasonable angle, which gradually became steeper and steeper as the tide and ship rose during the day – leading to maybe inevitable collapse when 11 people bounced/flexed on it.”

Pursuant to the forum selection clause in the terms and conditions of the NCL passenger ticket, injured passengers must provide written notice to NCL within six months and must file lawsuits arising out of the accident in federal court for the Southern District of Florida within one year.

If you have any comments or questions regarding this incident, please leave one below or join the discussion on our Facebook page.

Image credit: JournoGenevieve via Twitter.

November 10, 2022 Initial Update:

A couple of people left comments on our Facebook post suggesting that the gangway may have been owned by the Port Authority in Panama. Even if this is true, cruise lines have a non-delegable legal duty to provide reasonable means of ingress to and egress from the ship which cannot be delegated to third parties. As several courts in this jurisdiction have ruled, a “common carrier has a “duty to maintain reasonable, safe means for passengers to . . . disembark” and that “this duty is nondelegable.” Vierling vCelebrity CruisesInc., 339 F.3d 1309 (11th Cir. 2003) (Tjoflat, J.)

November 10, 2022 Update From Cruise Critic Members: 

Members of Cruise Critic posted comments about the accident and several photographs. One person, identified as “User 58953268” who was on the ship, commented:

“At least initially, on the morning of the first port day, the NCL staff was concerned enough about the gangway that they were only letting a small number of people go down the gangway at a time. (There was an extremely long line to get off the ship because this was the only exit, and they were restricting the number of people who could be on it at once.)

I have spoken with many people who told me the same thing- which was when they first stepped out, they thought something to the effect of hoping it was safe and could hold them, seeming rickety, kind of nervous about it, etc.

When it first collapsed, early afternoon on the second day, at least some of the people were actually hanging off of it holding on for dear life, until they finally couldn’t hold on any longer and slipped off, crashing onto the pavement below. It sounded horrific, and at least one of the eyewitnesses was hysterical. Later, another eyewitness said that several people had apparent bad injuries but two “were unresponsive.”

I do not know if anyone died. I have not spoken to anyone who knows whether anyone died or not . . . I did not see nor hear of anyone with only minor injuries. To my knowledge all victims had serious injuries and were hospitalized in Panama. (Again, unknown if any died. The ships do all have morgues.)

As other passengers were returning to the ship from touring, and getting off the shuttle bus, they used NCL gangways to get back on. You can see them in the photo.

I do know of one crew member that stayed behind in Panama with the injured.

I personally saw crew members put lots and lots and lots of luggage onto elevators (I saw two FULL elevators of luggage). About an hour after this, the ship left. This was on time.

There have been no announcements about this incident or anything related to it since it happened, nor changes to the itinerary.

May you all never have to experience a tragedy like this, travel or otherwise 🙏”

Another member of Cruise Critic, identified as “PTC DAWG,” indicated he had friends on the ship who informed hin of this information:

“. . . The dock is new, and not completely finished.  Main gangway was not ready, so this one was used instead.  In the morning, they restricted it to two passengers at a time to get off the ship, and it took hours for people to get off for their excursions, and outings.  In the afternoon, for re-boarding the ship, they didn’t restrict the number of passengers on the gangway at the same time — and you see the result.”

Unlike the United States, which no longer makes the number of people infected with COVID-19 on cruise ships publicly available (the CDC stopped such public disclose in July of this year), the state of New South Wales (NSW) in Australia requires cruise ships which arrive in its waters with guests and crew members infected with the virus to disclose some relevant health data to the public.

The Australian NSW government’s travel website list, under the title “Update on cruise vessel COVID-19 status,” the “tiers” and “risk levels” of cruise ships. The NSW’s “Advice for the Cruise Industry” provides COVID-19 risk mitigation measures specific to NSW for all cruise vessels intending to enter or leave a NSW port.

Cruise ships are obligated to fill out and send a standard reporting template for acute respiratory infections (as well as  gastrointestinal infections) via email to the NSW Health Department on the identification of a person(s) who has tested positive to COVID-19 on board the vessel.

The NSW system contemplates a three tier risk level for each ship. Australia NSW lists “% of Passengers & Crew Onboard who have Tested Positive to COVID-19 in Last 7 Days:” Tier 1 is “0.0% to <3%.” Tier 2 is “3% to <10%.” Tier 3 is “≥10%.” Tier 3 results in a “operational compromise” of a cruise ship as follows:

  • Major impact to staffing and/or resource shortages.
  • Unable to maintain critical services and/or imminent cessation of critical services. (Example: Reduction in critical staffing or resources that cannot be compensated (such as impact to healthcare workers, engineering staff, or shortages of food or PPE).

The Coral Princess is designated at Tier 3 (risk level 3 of 3).

Coral Princess is currently sailing with 2,000 cruise passengers and 900 crew members. NSW’s data from the cruise ship indicates that there are at least 290 guests and crew members infected with COVID-19 in the last seven (7) days. The website does not indicate the exact number or percentage of people infected or the exact percentage of the guests or crew members who are infected over 10%.

In any event, according to NWS’s guidelines, when over 10% of the cruise ships’ passengers and crew are infected, this will likely result in a major impact to staffing on the ship which will be unable to provide critical services.

This data is useful given the tendency of cruise lines to refuse to publicly disclose the number of infected people on its ships. As we have said before, representatives of Carnival cruise brands, in particular, have resorted to the “it’s just a small number” mumbo-jumbo while evading providing an accurate number of passengers infected with COVID-19 on Carnival Corporation owned cruise ships. Carnival has repeatedly claimed that literally every single COVID-19 shipboard outbreak, whether it included 5, 15, 50, 150 or more people, was always just a so-called “small number.

Stay tuned and we will continue to monitor the NSW health website and update you regarding the COVID risk levels of other cruise ships entering NSW ports.

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

Image credit: ABC News: Bridget Herrmann


The president of Carnival Australia and P&O Cruises Australia, Marguerite Fitzgerald, told ABC Business yesterday that there had been an increase in COVID-19 infections on the Coral Princess once the cruise ship reached Fremantle, Australia but the number allegedly remained “limited” and “managed well.” She continued to refuse to release an exact number of infected guests or crew members on the Carnival-owned ship. As we previously reported, Ms. Fitzgerald previously stated  last weekend and on Monday, that only “a small number of our 2,000 guests travelling on the Coral Princess tested positive for COVID-19.” But she recently said “yesterday we undertook testing of all guests on board and we did see an increased number.”

10% of Guests on the Coral Princess Are Infected With COVID-19

The Weekend Australian estimated last Monday that there were currently 100 confirmed cases of Covid-19 on-board the Coral Princess, based on conversations with WA Health. As of yesterday, Ms. Fitzgerald said “I don’t have an exact number, but over 90 per cent of people on board have returned negative tests in the last few days.” Given the fact that there are around 2,000 guests and 900 crew members on the ship, this literally means that the remaining 10% tested positive for COVID-19. This results in 200 infected guests and 90 infected crew members (if Ms. Fitzgerald included crew members as “people on board”).

Australia Remains Under Siege by U.S. Based Cruise Ship Carrying Hundreds of Infected Guests

Currently, Australia is under siege by U.S. based cruise ships arriving with passengers and crew members infected with COVID-19. There are around 850 people infected on just four cruise ships visiting Australia: Coral Princess – currently 200 infected passengers; Majestic Princess – 116  infected passengers; Ovation of the Seas –  currently 129 infected passengers and 2 infected crew;  and Quantum of the Seas – currently approximately 400 infected passengers.

Why Residents of Port Communities Should Worry About COVID-19 Cruise Ships

The Conversation in Australia explained today why port communities should worry about COVID-19 being transmitted to residents ashore from visiting cruise ships:

First, cruise ships can have epidemics of a variety of infectious diseases, not just COVID-19, facilitated by large numbers of people in close proximity, especially during indoor social activities. SARS-CoV-2 is spread mainly by inhaling contaminated air, so indoor activities may pose a risk if ventilation is poor.

Secondly, cruises typically last at least a week, which covers the incubation period for infections such as influenza and COVID. So all it takes is for one infected person to be on the ship to set off an epidemic.

Thirdly, crew members stay on ships much longer than passengers, and can continue to infect new passengers, perpetuating a cycle of outbreaks.

Fourthly, almost half of infections are transmitted asymptomatically. So, without testing everyone on board (before they board and during outbreaks), infectious people can board a ship without being aware they are infected and cause an epidemic. Infected staff can also infect new passengers, and passengers can infect communities they visit on land.

Port Communities Are Held Hostage to the Cruise Lines’ Lack of Transparency

As usual, Carnival executives continue to refuse to admit how many of its guests or ship employees are infected with the virus.

Local port authorities in some jurisdictions will sometimes disclose the actual number of people infected on visiting cruise ships. But it’s clear that Carnival-owned brands like Princess Cruises are under orders from Carnival Corporation’s Miami-based PR team to refuse to reveal such basic public information.

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

Coral Princess Image Credit: Roy Luck – Creative Commons 2.0 commons/ wikimedia.

Cruise ships are returning to Australia, New Zealand and Tahiti amidst reports that four cruise ships (two operated by Princess Cruises and two by Royal Caribbean) are rife with COVID-19. Three of the ships have one hundred or more COVID-19 infected guests on each ship. Royal Caribbean has one ship heading to Australia with reports of around 400 infected passengers.

Coral Princess – Currently 100 COVID-19 Passenger Cases

ABC News in Australia report in an article titled COVID-19 Cases Confirmed Aboard First Cruise Liner to Dock in Western Australia After Two Years that an outbreak of COVID-19 occurred on the Coral Princess which arrived in Western Australia this week. Passengers and crew members aboard the Princess cruise ship, the first major cruise ship to visit Western Australia in over two years, tested positive for COVID-19. The limited data regarding the number of people infected with COVID-19 was reported not by the cruise ship’s owner, the ever-evasive Carnival Corporation, or the ship’s operator, the ever-mum Princess Cruises, but by the local health organization, WA Health. President of Carnival Australia, the owner of Princess Cruises, Marguerite Fitzgerald, said last Monday that only “a small number” of guests on the Coral Princess tested positive for COVID-19.”

Other Carnival cruise representatives have resorted to the “it’s just a small number” mumbo-jumbo while evading providing an accurate number of passengers infected with COVID-19 on Carnival Corporation owned cruise ships. Carnival has repeatedly claimed that literally every single COVID-19 shipboard outbreak, whether it included 5, 15, 50, 150 or more people, was always just a so-called “small number.”

The Australian newspaper reported that there have been at least “100 confirmed cases of Covid-19 on-board” the Coral Princess. It is less than clear how many crew members were positive for COVID-19. The newspaper estimated that although this ship may accommodate 2,390 passengers, the Coral Princess currently is hosting 1,900 passengers with 900 crew members.

Despite the COVID-19 outbreak, Coral Princess departed from Broome on Monday evening (October 24th) on an Australian itinerary which includes Geraldton, Fremantle, Busselton and Albany, where passengers are expected to go ashore to shop and sightsee, before returning to Sydney next month.” The potential of spreading COVID-19 to residents of the ports, particularly elderly and vulnerable victims, is painfully obvious.

It seems a bit like déjà vu to hear of a Princess cruise ship arriving in Australia with passengers infected with COVID-19. Back in 2020, the Australian government launched an inquiry  to determine why 2,700 passengers, hundreds of whom were infected with COVID-19, disembarked the Ruby Princess cruise ship in Sydney, leading to Australia’s biggest single source of the coronavirus outbreak at the time. Forbes reported that the “report linked more than 900 Covid-19 cases and 28 deaths to the Ruby Princess, including 20 in Australia and eight in the US,”  It also found that over 16% of the crew contracted the virus, and almost 40% of Australian passengers onboard.

A class action lawsuit against Princess Cruises began in Australia last week, according to ABC News.

Majestic Princess – Currently 116 COVID-19 Passenger Cases

Another Carnival owned and Princess Cruises cruise ship, the Majestic Princess, was quarantined after arriving in Tahiti two weeks ago with at least 116 cases of COVID-19, according to a local newspaper. The newspaper did not address the total number of guests or crew on the ship.

Ovation of the Seas – Currently 129 COVID-19 Passenger Cases & 2 Crew Cases

Meanwhile, RNZ reported in an article titled More Than 130 Covid-19 Cases On One of First Cruise Ships to Return to New Zealand that there are currently at least 129 passengers and two crew members who tested positive for COVID-19 on Royal Caribbean’s Ovation of the Seas which recently arrived in New Zealand.

The Royal Caribbean ship carries almost 5,000 passengers and 1.300 crew, although the press did not state the guest occupancy or number of crew members working on the ship during this voyage .

The newspaper reports that the Ovation of the Seas which sailed to Napier, New Zealand from Tahiti, arrived in Wellington, New Zealand yesterday morning and is now sailing to Picton, New Zealand and then to Sydney, Australia.

Quantum of the Seas – Currently 400 COVID-19 Passenger Cases

9 News in Queensland, Australia reports that 400 guests on Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas heading towards Queensland may be positive with COVID-19.  Royal Caribbean refuses to confirm the number or state how many people are infected. Reports are that COVID-19-only decks of infected passengers are “overflowing” with infected guests.

There is occupancy on the ship for over 4,000 guests with 1,500 crew members, although there is no public information regarding the number of passengers or crew.

There are many dozens of people leaving comments on Twitter about the huge outbreak on the Quantum of the Seas, with some tweeting:

“So many of these plague cruises in AU-NZ waters now it’s getting hard to keep track, is this same one which sailed from Sydney to NZ or it another one?’

Royal Caribbean requires it guests to comply with Australian Federal and State Government guidelines for cruising, which state that “at least 95% of guests must be fully vaccinated for Covid-19. All guests ages 12 and older will need to present proof of full vaccination approved by the TGA (Therapeutic Goods Administration),  at the terminal in order to sail.”

Just a week ago, a number of ports in New Zealand and Australia were welcoming back cruise ships from Princess Cruises and Royal Caribbean with great fanfare. At least one commentator noted the madness of inviting back ships which carried and transmitted disease to residents in and near Australia, not to mention the negative environmental impacts and minimal economic contribution.

Although there are currently around 750 infected passengers total on the four cruise ships in question, this inevitable result is not particularly surprising.  Before the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) stopped reporting on the number of COVID-19 infections on cruise ships (last July), 100% of cruise ships sailing from U.S. ports had passengers and/or crew infected with COVID-19. See, Where Did the Green Cruise Ships Go? – 100% of Cruise Ships Have COVID-19 Cases. The average number of infections when the CDC stopped making the number of COVID-19 infection on cruise ships public earlier this summer was at least 100.

Fortunately, there are informed scientists who are sounding the alarm of the danger of infecting residents of the ports in Australia by permitting passengers from the Coral Princess and other cruise ships to disembark.

Unfortunately, these cruise lines are committed to permitting their cruise guests to go on excursions and shopping trips ashore, irrespective of the danger of again spreading COVID-19 a la the Ruby Princess.

Cruise Passengers With “Cough & Cold Symptoms” Are Ignoring Local Law

Australian newspaper Stuff chronicled the plight of the small town of Pincton, Australia. Royal Caribbean passengers from the Ovation of the Seas, who were disembarked in the the port town, were going into the local pharmacy with “cough and cold symptoms.” Pharmacist Graeme Smith was quoted saying “I know that Covid is on that ship . . . people are supposed to wear a mask” coming into a health facility. “We have free masks on the counter and a sign but people are ignoring it. There is so many people you can’t control it. It’s already mandatory according to government rules. I don’t know what the cruise industry is doing about it.”

He is the pharmacy’s only pharmacist, meaning that if he caught the virus the outlet would be without one.

Stuff also focused on the fact that Royal Caribbean were not complying with Australian law which requires seven days of quarantine for people symptomatic wit COVID-19.

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

Image credit: Top – Quantum of the SeasIngo Wagner / DPA / AFP via RNZ