Cruises.co.uk reports today that norovirus has broken out aboard Royal Caribbean’s Jewel of the Seas cruise ship. 

The website reports that passengers due to sail on June 12,  2010 have been informed to arrive late as embarkation will start to take place from 4:30pm.  The cruise ship will apparently undergo what the cruise line calls an "enhanced sanitizing" on Saturday.

Cruise Ship Norovirus The Jewel of the Seas had widespread sickness (diarrhea and vomiting) last March, but the Center for Disease Control (CDC) could not determine the type of pathogen.  You can read the CDC analysis here.

The CDC database for cruise ship norovirus outbreaks is here.

For prior blog articles about cruise ship norovirus, read them here

Royal Caribbean’s cruise ship, the Constellation, operated by its subsidiary Celebrity Cruises also sickened passengers and crew just two weeks ago.  164 passengers and 29 crewmembers developed a norovirus infection, according to Cruise.co.uk.  You will not find this officially reported to the CDC because cruise ships are not required to report outbreaks of sicknesses when the cruise ship does not call on a U.S. port. 

Royal Caribbean’s PR crisis manager Cynthia Martinez issued a statement that the Constellation would be delayed so that the ship would undergo a "thorough cleaning and sanitizing." 

This sounds good but what does this mean?   As we mentioned in prior blogs, the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) concludes that whereas "person to person" transmission of norovirus has been documented, "norwalk gastroenteritis is transmitted by the fecal-oral route via contaminated water and foods." 

So how does a cruise ship go about a "thorough cleaning" when the cruise lines has not determined whether the source of the norovirus is infected food or water?  How do you perform an "enhanced sanitizing" of food or water?

Royal Caribbean’s PR department refused to respond to a request for a statement or a comment on the latest sicknesses to Cruise Law News (CLN). 

If you are disembarking from the Jewel of the Seas or the Constellation, please leave a note below and provide us with your thoughts on how the cruise line handled the outbreak.  

June 12th Update:

Newspapers in Harwich are reporting that 398 passengers and 30 crew fell ill with norovirus while on board the Jewel of the Seas.  A company PR release states that boarding today will be delayed until 3:00 p.m. for what the cruise line states is "extensive," "thorough" and "enhanced" sanitizing.  But health officials have not identified the source of the norovirus as either contaminated food or water, unsanitary crew members, or infected passengers.  So what will additional cleaning for 2 or 3 hours accomplish?

Passengers are beginning to leave interesting comments below, pointing out that the method of serving passengers is likely causing the norovirus to spread . . .   

June 26, 2010 Update:

Royal Caribbean is violating U.K. law by sailing without completely sanitizing the contaminated cruise ship.  Some very astute readers are leaving insightful comments below, regarding the potential causes of the virus and the cruise line’s shortcommings.  Be sure to read the comments at the bottom. 

 

Royal Caribbean - Jewel of the Seas - Norovirus?

 

June 25, 2010 Update:

The norovirus continues:  Jewel of the Seas Remains Contaminated with Norovirus

 

Credits:

Photograph of cleaner                telegraph.co.uk 

Photograph Jewel of the Seas                 w:User:Dave souza at Wikipedia

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.

The United States Coast Guard (USCG) medevaced a crew member from the Serenade of the Seas yesterday, eighty miles west of Tampa. The USCG deployed a MH-60 Jayhawk helicopter from Coast Guard Air Station Clearwater.

In January of this year, we reported that Royal Caribbean began using the Serenade of the Seas as a floating “quarantine or hospital ship” to house crew members infected with COVID-19. The company was also using a number of other cruise ships, including the Vision of the Seas, Rhapsody of the Seas and Jewel of the Seas as floating hospitals / quarantine hotels for its infected crew members. A crew member on the Serenade who operates The Curious Lens of Martina from Argentina explained via video that the cruise ship would be used by the company to assist the Royal Caribbean fleet in accepting the transfer of COVID-19 positive crew members from other cruise ships sailing Western Caribbean itineraries so that they can continue to call on Caribbean ports (which have reporting requirements that block ships from calling when their total population of guests and crew members exceeds 1%).

There is no public information regarding the medical status of this particular crew member or the reason for the emergency medical evacuation. It is less than clear whether this crew member was medevaced for emergency medical treatment related to COVID-19.

Medical evacuation of crew members or guests on cruise ships is provided by the USCG without cost or expense to the cruise guests, crew members or the cruise lines themselves. It is one of the many expenses incurred by U.S. federal agencies which are paid by U.S. taxpayers.

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

Image credits: Screengrab and video – U.S. Coast Guard via the Defense Visual Information Distribution Service (DVIDS); Serenade of the Seas – Matt H. Wade, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikipedia.

Today, a reader sent me this video produced by a Royal Caribbean crew member who operates The Curious Lens of Martina from Argentina. Crew member Martina explains that the Serenade of the Seas will operate as a floating “quarantine or hospital ship” to “assist the rest of the fleet.” This “new mission,” as Maria explains, is to assist the fleet in accepting the transfer of COVID-19 positive crew members from other Royal Caribbean cruise ships sailing Western Caribbean itineraries so that they can continue to call on Caribbean ports (which apparently have reporting requirements that block ships from calling when their total population (of guests and crew members exceeds 1%).

To place this news in context, Royal Caribbean has assembled a fleet of cruise ships to house their crew members who test positive for COVID-19 and to provide medical treatment to those who are symptomatic.  Two of the other ships, the Vision of the Seas and the Rhapsody of the Seas, are currently at maximum capacity with over 1,500 infected crew members on each ship. The majority of the crew members are symptomatic.

A third Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Jewel of the Seas, conducted its first transfer of infected / ill crew members from the Harmony of the Seas yesterday morning when it brought aboard 237 crew members. The Oasis of the Seas also made a crew transfer of infected crew members to the Jewel.

The video if course does not mention these types of details.

The total number of infected crew members on the Jewel is currently 720 employees (according to a crew member on the Jewel who wishes to remain anonymous), including the 187 crew members (which increased in the last day from 183 crew members) on the Jewel who were already infected / ill.

https://twitter.com/Keubiko/status/1480995838595899402

With many hundreds of crew members becoming infected on Royal Caribbean ships, it is just a matter of time before the Jewel and Sensation also reach maximum capacity.  All of the four Royal Caribbean quarantine / hospital ships are requiring crew members to share cabins. We do not yet know how many ship doctors or nurses are employed on the Serenade. If it is staffed like the Vision with only two doctors and four nurses for over 1,500 infected / ill crew members, the medical staffing is clearly inadequate. Stuffing over a thousand infected and ill crew members together on an old ship like the Serenade with a questionable ability to provide ventilation and circulation of fresh air is not remotely in the best interest of the physical or mental condition of its hard working crew members.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases continue to surge on cruise ships as the industry persists in ignoring the warnings by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) against travel by cruise ships, irrespective of vaccination status.

https://twitter.com/Keubiko/status/1480981951158919178

Read our first article addressing this issue:

Vision of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas: Royal Caribbean’s “Plague Ships”

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Image credit: Serenade of the Seas – Matt H. Wade, CC BY-SA 3.0, commons / wikiperia,


Why Is the CDC’s Color Status for the Rhapsody of the Seas and Vision of the Seas Floating Hospitals and Quarantine Hotels Designated “Green” (No Reported COVID-19 Cases)?

This past week, I received lots of information from both crew members and cruise guests that several Royal Caribbean cruise ships are transferring crew members, who test positive or are ill with COVID-19, to one of two idle ships in the fleet (Vision of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas) which are being operated as floating quarantine hotels and/or hospitals at sea. There are many hundreds of infected and sick crew members on these two ships, which many crew are now calling “plague ships.” Yet, currently the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) designate the COVID-19 status of both the Vision and Rhapsody as “green” (“no reported cases of COVID-19”) on the CDC’s Covid Cruise Ship Color Status website.

(The term “plague ship” is a nineteenth century phrase commonly used to refer to a vessel filled with disease and pestilence. “Plague ship” more recently is a science fiction novel published in 1956 where crew members on a space ship become ill with severe headaches and end up in a semi-coma state. The crew discovers that they are considered to be pariahs and their rocket declared a plague ship).

I first learned this while communicating with a crew member on the Jewel of the Seas who explained that Royal Caribbean transferred twenty-one (21) crew members from the Jewel in order to avoid a Caribbean port regulation that bars ships which have more than 1% of the ship population positive for coronavirus. The next day after the Jewel transferred the infected crew members to the Rhapsody in Barbados, another twenty-five (25) crew members tested positive for COVID-19. The Jewel was scheduled to sail back to Miami at the end of its last cruise but it altered its course to stop in Coco Cay and transferred the 25 infected crew members to the Vision of the Seas which was anchored nearby. (The Jewel was just barred from porting this morning in Cartagena, Colombia because fifty-one (51) crew members are infected with COVID-19).

https://www.tiktok.com/@cruisingwithcovid/video/7048650306749484335?is_copy_url=0&is_from_webapp=v1&sender_device=pc&sender_web_id=7041616820562150918

Other Royal Caribbean cruise ships have made similar transfers of crew members who tested positive for the virus. On December 28th, the Symphony of the Seas tranferred what was described as “dozens of infected crew members” to the Rhapsody of the Seas due to COVID-19. In the last week, the Anthem of the Seas transferred forty-nine (49) crew members who tested positive for COVID-19 to the Vision. This past weekend, several guests videotaped a large number of crew members who tested positive for the virus transferring from the Harmony of the Seas to the Vision of the Seas. The videos were taken by passengers from balconies of the Harmony snd showed  many crew members with their personal effects and luggage walking across the dock and boarding the Vision of the Seas which was docked next to the Harmony. One guest counted 107 crew members. Another guest counted 108. A third guest counted 110 crew members. Whatever the exact number may be, conservatively over 100 ship employees walked over to the Vision from the the Harmony which I reported yesterday was experiencing a “super-spreader” event at sea.

All of these transfers occur at night apparently in the hopes that cruise passengers will not observe the spectacle.

A week ago, we wrote about forty-nine (49) Royal Caribbean crew members infected on the Harmony. Apparently, the cruise line transferred these crew members off the ship before it returned to Port Canaveral.

At this point, we know that there have been a minimum of approximately three hundred  (300) infected crew members who transferred from the Jewel, Anthem, Symphony and Harmony alone to either the Vision or Rhapsody. Undoubtfully, at least a dozen more Royal Caribbean ships operating from the east coast of the U.S. transferred infected crew members in the same manner.

It is irrational for the CDC to designate these two cruise ships as “green:”

Transferring COVID-19 positive (and sometimes ill ship employees) to what some crew members commonly refer to as the “plague ships” is problematic on several levels.

It appears that these transfers are taking place to skirt around the 1% regulation of many Caribbean ports. Blocking cruise ships from calling at Caribbean ports is intended by these countries (which often have a low vaccination rate) to protect the health and safety of port residents. But from the cruise lines’ perspective, it causes disruption of the ship’s itinerary, results in the cancellation of shore excursions, and disappoints the fare-paying guests. Sometimes the cruise line also pay the guests $100 or so for the missed port.

There is a tremendous financial incentive to dump infected crew members into the company’s floating “quarantine hotels.” Land based hotels, like the Raddison, where Royal Caribbean is housing infected guests from the recent outbreak on the Harmony,  costs a few hundred dollars a day when you factor in the room and board. If you reasonably estimate that Royal Caribbean has anywhere from 60 to 125 infected crew members per ship on around a dozen cruise ships or so sailing in Caribbean waters, that’s around 1,000 infected ship employees. Quarantining crew members in South Florida would cost the company well over $1,500,000 a week in quarantine-related room and board, multiplied by at least a week of quarantine.  If the Omicron surge continues for another two months, the cruise line could well spend over $15,000,000 if they house crew members ashore.

Royal Caribbean appears to have decided to avoid these expenses by turning a couple of its dormant cruise ships into floating hotels.

Royal Caribbean also saves a lot of money by keeping its ill crew members on its ship under the responsibility of its minimally paid ship doctors and nurses. We know, from communicating with crew members on these ships, that some of them have tested positive and require medical treatment for a range of COVID-19 related symptoms which include sore throats, headaches, chills, fever and fatigue.

The biggest criticism we hear from crew members is that the company restricts their access to U.S. shoreside doctors (who are more likey to prescribe more extensive and expensive medical treatment) and prefer that the crew be treated by ship doctors who are inclined to hand out ibuprofen as the cure-all for crew members ailments.

It is highly questionable whether infected crew members should be quarantined on a cruise ship in the first place, putting the issue of saving money aside. Cruise ships are known for their poorly designed ventilation systems, which recycles air throughout the cabins. We have written several articles about the airborne spread of norovirus throughout the ship when guests or crew become ill with that virus. Read: Airborne Virus Transmission: Why Didn’t Cruise Ships Install HEPA Air Filters Long Ago? Is the company permitting quarantined crew members to stay alone in guest cabins with balconies? Or are they huddled together in balcony-less cabins on lower decks breathing recycled air?

COVID-19 after all is another airborne virus which also easily spreads through the air conditioning and closed ventilation systems, as leading epidemiologists have concluded.

The fact that the Vision and the Rhapsody have many hundreds of infected and ill crew members on he ships raises a number of questions regarding Royal Caribbean’s intentions and the CDC’s involvement.  Is Royal Caribbean accurately reporting these positive COVID-19 cases to the CDC? If so, why hasn’t the CDC assigned a “red” designation to these ships? Why on earth would the CDC designate these ships as “green,” meaning no reported COVID-19 cases?

The CDC’s designation of the Vision and Rhapsody as “green” (COVID free) subjects the CDC to ridicule. Unfortunately, it provides a basis to question all of the CDC’s findings, at a time when travelers need a reliable source of information about the surge in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant.

 

https://twitter.com/SeasonneRose/status/1478220284490657799

The U.S. CDC has the authority to inspect foreign-flagged cruise ships which pose hazards to their passengers or crew.  Let’s hope that the federal health agency takes a hard look at these two Royal Caribbean cruise ships. The CDC should immediately designate them as “yellow” and begin an investigation. The CDC needs to investigate exactly how many infected and ill crew members are aboard these plague ships, and determine whether it is reasonably safe and appropriate to house ship employees in this manner.

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January 4, 2022 Evening Update: The CDC finally updated its Covid Cruise Ship Color Status website for the Rhapsody of the Seas, but only to “orange” which, per the CDC’s definition means “reported cases of COVID-19 are below the threshold for CDC investigation.”

 

 

January 5, 2022 Update: The CDC finally removed the “green” (no reported COVID cases) for the Vision of the Seas but replaced it with “orange” (reported cases of COVID are below the CDC’s minimal threshold). This is nonsensical because like the Rhapsody,  the Vision has hundreds of infected/ill crew members on board.

Image credits: Top – Vision of the Seas sailing into Coco Cay to pick up infected / ill Royal Caribbean crew members from the Harmony of the Seas – anonymous guests on the Harmony; various photos and videos – respective users on Twitter and TikTok.

Today the Harmony of the Seas finally returned to its home port in Port Canaveral after a disastrous week at sea.  Royal Caribbean transferred over a hundred (100) crew members, who tested positive for COVID-19, to the Vision of the Seas which the cruise line is using as a quarantine facility-at-sea and/or floating hospital. Based on dozens of messages from cruise passengers, around three-hundred (300) guests tested positive for the virus.

We last reported on the Harmony last week that there were nearly fifty (50) crew members who tested positive forr COVID-19 when Royal Caribbean called on port in Roatan, which unlike several Caribbean ports does not have a regulation prohibiting cruise ships from calling at  port with 1% or more of its total ship population (guests and crew) positive with COVID-19.

By yesterday morning, we received several emails and Facebook messages that there were many dozens of guests, including their children, who tested positive for the virus.  Several people complained on Twitter that there may be as many as three-hundred (300) passengers at this time who have tested positive.

https://twitter.com/SeasonneRose/status/1477457037479096329

https://twitter.com/Keubiko/status/1477501234370207748

https://twitter.com/WayVDreamer/status/1477519066348851200

In addition, many passengers observed over one-hundred crew members transferring with their luggage and personal effects to  the Vision of the Seas which Royal Caribbean is using as a floating hotel to quarantine their COVID-19 positive ship employees as well as a floating hospital for crew members requiring medical treatment.

We have heard from crew members on the Jewel of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas which both transferred COVID-19 positive and ill crew members to the Vision of the Seas this past few days.  Royal Caribbean is also using the Rhapsody of the Seas as a floating hotel / hospital for ship employees who test positive for the virus or are ill.

https://twitter.com/SeasonneRose/status/1477460366816948232

The cruise line saves substantial money by housing its positive crew members on its idle ships rather than hotels ashore. Royal Caribbean, which is legally responsible for providing medical treatment to its ill and infected crew, can also save lots of money by keeping the ship employees under the responsibility of its minimally paid  ship doctors rather than the more expensive, albeit vastly more competent, educated and experienced care of  U.S. physicians.

Similar to the Anthem of the Seas, the Harmony of the Seas also had a largely mask-less super-spreader event as the guests attended a New Year’s Eve sing-a-long.

https://www.tiktok.com/@cruisingwithcovid/video/7048674994913660206

Royal Caribbean is fortunate that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDD) did not issue a red warning for this ship given the fact that it appears that over 400 passengers and crew have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.

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Image credit: Top – Harmony of the Seas – SIMON BROOKE-WEBB, SBW-PHOTO via USA TODAY

 

Today, the Harmony of the Seas arrived in Roatan, Honduras with forty-nine (49) crew members who tested positive for COVID-19. There was one guest who also tested positive, for a total of fifty people on this Royal Caribbean ship (I tweeted earlier, in error, that there were fifty crew members who tested positive). The actual number in fact is forty-nine infected crew members and one guest at the moment.

This information is provided by a Royal Caribbean employee who wishes to remain anonymous and employed. The employee is one of two crew members in the fleet who I have known for years and feel compelled to provide accurate information regaring the COVID-19 virus and related health and safety issues on Royal Caribbean ships.

This is the fourth Royal Caribbean cruise ship with a significant number of people infected with COVID-19 onboard. The Symphony of the Seas had 48 people test positive for coronavirus. The Odyssey of the Seas had what the Miami Herald initially reported as  55 COVID-19 cases as which later increased the number to at least 69. We reported that the Jewel of the Seas had at least 50 cases in the last two sailings with at least 45 of that total being crew members.  There have been similar number of positive cases, primarily involving crew members on Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line (NCL) and Carnival owned Holland America Line (HAL) cruise ship.

Regarding the Jewel of the Seas outbreaks, many of the infected crew members are exhibiting symptoms and worked while they were symptomatic.  Often, cruise lines are quick to routinely state that 30 or 40 or 50 COVID-19 cases are somehow a “small number” allegedly involving only asymptomatic employees.

Royal Caribbean is using two of its cruise ships (The Rhapsody of the Seas and Vision of the Seas) as floating hospitals/quarantine hotels for its crew members. These ships have not yet been permitted to sail with passengers again after the industry was suspended  last year following the CDC’s no-sail orders,  The motivation seems to be that this will save Royal Caribbean money by not paying shoreside doctors to provide medical treatment for the crew or hotels, although it remains questionable whether prompt and appropriate medical treatment can be provided at sea like this. Most importantly to the cruise line, by using its idle cruise ships to quaratine crew members, this it will permit the company to skirt the COVID-19 reporting requirements of Caribbean nations which are protecting the health and safety of their port residents. Many ports will not permit cruise ships to dock in the even that more than one percent of the ship’s population (guests and crew) is positive for COVID-19.  By tranferring dozens of COVID-19 positive crewmembers from an infected ship to either the Rhapsody or Vision, Royal Caribbean is able to avoid the scrutiny of port health officials who might block them from their ports.

Meanwhile, COVID-19 cases are continuing to surge, The CDC today released information indicating that althought infections involving the Omicron variant  continur to increase, the percentage of vases invilving this variant are not as high as initially thought, This is not necessarily good news, as it means that there is a higher percentage of cases involving the Delta variant which continues to cause more serious symptoms, hospitalizations and deaths.

According to the CDC, there ae at least 89 cruise ships currently with COVID-19 aboard. A month ago there was less than half this number. Two months ago there was less than a third of this number. Not only are the vast majority of cruise ships (which are sailing from U.S. ports and are under the CDC’s jurisdiction) under yellow or orange warnings, but the average number of positive cases per ship has increased from a few cases to an average of around 50 a ship.

Unfortunately, there are few reliable and accurate sources of information where families thinking of taking a leisure cruise during a pandemic can go to locate candid information which could affect their family’s health and safety.

The Harmony of the Seas departed from Roatan a couple of hours ago. It will now sail to Costa Maya, Mexico where it will arrive tomorrow. It is scheduled to stop in Coco Cay in the Bahanas on New Year’s Day and then sail bac to Port Canaveral on January 2, 2022.

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

January 1, 2022 Update: A guest sailing on the Harmony which is now in Coco Cay this morning states that his minor daughter tested positive among others who have gone to the ship infirmary, including many children. He estimates as many as 300 other guests are infected.

Image Credit:

Harmony of the Seas – SIMON BROOKE-WEBB, SBW-PHOTO via USA TODAY

Christmas tree GIF –

Just a few days after the Symphony of the Seas experienced a COVID-19 outbreak which infected at least forty-eight (48) guests, another Royal Caribbean cruise ship, the Odyssey of the Seas, today suffered a COVID-19 outbreak involving at least fifty-five (55) people, including fifty-two (52) crew members and at least three (3) guests.

USA TODAY first reported the outbreak on the Odyssey of the Seas. The newspaper initially reported an outbreak of fifty (50) people, involving three (3) passengers and forty-seven (47) crew members who tested tested positive for COVID-19. The cruise ship departed from Fort Lauderdale on Saturday for an eight-night cruise to the Caribbean.

There is a curious twist with the outbreak on the Odyssey of the Seas. The cruise ship quickly turned around on Saturday after it reached the Bahamas and returned to port in Fort Lauderdale on Sunday to disembark a symptomatic passenger, who was positive with the virus, and his close contacts.  It appears that USA TODAY then picked up the tweet and reported on this unusual development.

The popular Crew Center reported later today that the number of people infected increased to at least fifty-two (52) crew members and three (3) pasengers. Further, the port of Curacao refused to permit the infected cruise ship to dock. Crew Center reported that “the cruise ship was scheduled to dock at Curacao today, however due to the current status, the vessel was denied clearance by the port authority, and disembarkation of guests was canceled.”

https://twitter.com/LifeAsDodson/status/1473689344661770242

According to USA TODAY, the Odyssey of the Seas sailed with 3,587 passengers and 1,599 crew. The Crew Center report that the ship is currently sailing with 3802 guests onboard.

All crew and passengers who are twelve (12) years old and over were to be vaccinated. Children under twelve (12) were not required to be vaccinated,

https://twitter.com/hackwithirma123/status/1473748883314561027

There have been a total of over one hundred (100) people infetected with the virus on just these two (2) Royal Caribbean cruise ships, the Odyssey and the Symphony. 

Royal Caribbean Has 23 Cruise Ships Which It Operates and / or Owns With COVID-19 Aboard 

Of course, there are many positive cases on many cruise ships owned and operated by Royal Caribbean. The COVID-19 color code tracking report maintained by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) reveals that there are fifteen (15) cases of COVID-19 on Royal Caribbean International ships operated by the company as well as eight (8) cases of COVID-19 on Celebrity and Silversea cruise ships which are owned by Royal Caribbean. The twenty-three (23) cruise ships is by far the most infected ships owned by a single cruise company.

 

More COVID-19 Cases Aboard The Jewel of of the Seas

We have reported on a steady stream of COVID-19 cases on the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas. The latest as of today is that the Jewel has six people on it who are positive for COVID-19 – three (3) guests and three (3) crew members. This information was provided by a knowledgeable crew member who wishes to remain anonymous.  This crew member also sent us a copy of an email from Royal Caribbean’s home office in Miami, which states in part:

‘ . . . With the uptick of positive cases and added concerns about variants . . . we’re adjusting our measures as needed, including requiring masks indoors on Royal Caribbean International ships, ensuring our crew members receive their booster dose as soon as they are eligible, and strongly recommending to our guests they too receive their booster dose once eligible to do so.”

Twenty-Eight on the MSC Seashore Positive for COVID-19

The popular Crew Center also reports that }twenty-eight guests and crew” on the MSC Seashore tested positive for Covid-19, “as the omicron variant surges in the U.S.”

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December 22, 2021 Evening Update: The Miami Herald reports on the outbreak: “Second Royal Caribbean ship has COVID-19 outbreak and it’s denied entry to Curacao and Aruba

Image Credit: Odyssey of the Seas – Oldih CC 4.0 wikipedia / commons

The arrival of Royal Caribbean’s newest cruise ship, Odyssey of the Seas, in Israel was marred by news that a crew member ended his life as the ship was sailing toward Haifa earlier this week, according to several crew members who wish to remain anonymous.  The cruise ship’s master announced the crew member’s death yesterday via the ship intercom system. The ship employee’s name and details of death were not disclosed.

The unnamed crew member, who is reportedly from India, went overboard from the Odyssey of the Seas Tuesday night as the Royal Caribbean cruise ship sailed south of Cyprus en route to Haifa. The sole newspaper covering the sad event is a newspaper in Cyprus – KNEWS, the English edition of Kathimerini Cyprus, which publish an article this morning titled Cyprus Halts Search For Sailor Lost at Sea – Cypriot Authorities Fail to Locate Crew Member in the Water After Falling Overboard From Haifa-Bound Cruise Ship.

KNEW reports that “a crew member on a cruise ship bound for Haifa was last seen Tuesday night, according to the captain of the vessel, who said the sailor was last seen when the vessel was some 20 nautical miles south of Cape Gata on the southern coast of Cyprus.”

The search and rescue efforts by Cyprus’ Joint Rescue Coordination Center were unsuccessful and stopped today. The rescue center was first notified yesterday (Wednesday) shortly before noon.

The newspaper in Cyprus, where the Odyssey of the Seas will visit when it begins cruises from Israel in June, did not identify the name of the cruise ship or that it was operated by Royal Caribbean. It is not uncommon for governmental agencies and newspaper in countries which have commercial relationships with cruise lines to refuse to identify the name of the cruise line or cruise ship in cases of crew suicides to avoid embarrassing their business partners.

Two dozen Royal Caribbean ship employees have gone overboard over the past ten 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 Monarch of the Seas, 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 crew members appeared to have ended their lives intentionally and/or they disappeared mysteriously. The last Royal Caribbean crew member to go overboard was a 27 year old ship employee from Poland. Closed-circuit camera on the cruise ship showed him jumping from the Jewel of the Seas off of the coast of Greece last May.

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 last year.

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.

In all, at least twenty-four (24) crew members went overboard from Royal Caribbean and Celebrity cruise ships from 2009 to the present. Most cases involved suicides. Yet, Royal Caribbean does not employ mental health counselors on its fleet of cruise 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.

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Photo Credits: Odyssey of the Seas – Ynet newspaper; Helicopter search – Cyprus Joint Rescue Coordination Center via KNEWS.

 

A Royal Caribbean ship employee died earlier today on the Harmony of the Seas, according to several crew members who wish to remain anonymous.

Crew member Mariah Jocson, who was described as a “new hire,” was reportedly found in her cabin this afternoon. There was an “Alpha, Alpha, Alpha” medical emergency broadcast on the ship’s PA system.  Later, the captain publicly announced that the crew member had died. Her family reportedly have been notified. There was no official announcement or explanation regarding her cause of death.

She was from Mandaluyong, Philippines.

The Harmony of the Seas is currently in Barbados with around 2,000 crew members still aboard waiting to be returned home, including many crew members who transferred from the Vision of the Seas, Majesty of the Seas, and Rhapsody of the Seas. She reportedly previously was on the Rhapsody.

The Royal Caribbean “Crew Repatriation Weekly Update” dated June 5, 2020 lists over twenty flights from Barbados to the Philippines in the next three weeks through June 30th.

This has been a difficult six weeks for many crew members who have remained on cruise ships during the period of cruising suspension which is now approaching 90 days. In addition to this incident, there have been eight other crew members who reportedly ended their lives and one employee who attempted to do so since May 1st.

A week ago, a long term employee from the Philippines died suddenly on a Crystal Cruises ship. Two weeks ago, a Filipino crew member died on the Virgin Voyages’ Scarlet Lady. Shortly before that, a crew member on the Vasco da Gamma cruise ship reportedly jumped from deck 12 of the ship and landed on a cargo container located on the pier of the Tilbury Docks in the U.K. It was last reported that the Cruise and Maritime Voyages (CMV) ship employee is in the hospital in London. A Filipino galley employee on the AIDAblu also died. A Chinese crew member hired as an assistant waiter on the Mariner of the Seas  was found dead by his colleagues. Royal Caribbean stated that the crew member, a young man, reportedly died of “natural causes,” although it did not release an official cause of his death or provide any explanation. On that same day, a Ukranian waiter from the Regal Princess jumped overboard while the ship was in Rotterdam. The day before, an assistant shore excursion manager died on the Carnival Breeze which was sailing to the U.K. from Bahamian waters. A post mortem report by a pathologist states the preliminary cause of death as hanging, according to a publication in the U.K.  The first suicide involved a Polish electrician on the Royal Caribbean Jewel of the Seas jumped from the ship south of Athens around the first of last month.

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June 10, 2020 Update: A newspaper in Barbados reports that the “Barbados police confirm they are treating the death as a suicide and identify the victim as a 28-year-old assistant waitress.”

June 11, 2020: Crew Center reported that there was a prayer tribute by crew members of the Harmony of the Seas Tuesday evening for Ms. Jocson (photo right) who was hired as a waiter.

Photo credit: Top – Harmony of the Seas – By kees torn – UNION BEAR, CC BY-SA 2.0, commons / wikimedia; middleHarmony of the Seas in Barbados – middle – Nation News by Shanice King; bottom – Mariah Jocson – Facebook via Crew Center.