Carnival Freedom Cruise Becomes Third South Florida Vessel to Report a COVID-19 Outbreak This Week
02:11 GMT 25.12.2021 (Updated: 04:30 GMT 25.12.2021)
Earlier this week, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas and Odyssey of the Seas both reported dozens of positive COVID-19 infections among its vaccinated staffers and passengers. Cruise lines operating at Florida ports have expressed that early detection should curb the contagious disease's spread and allow other guests to retain some normalcy.
The Carnival Cruise Line confirmed on Friday that a southern Caribbean-bound cruise ship that departed from Miami, Florida, on Saturday was denied entry to the ports of Bonaire and Aruba on Thursday, due to the presence of at least one individual on the ship who tested positive for COVID-19.
Per the Miami Herald, there were an estimated 2,497 passengers and 1,112 crew members aboard.
Without giving numbers on those who tested positive or were quarantining, the Miami-based company told The Hill
that many stops on the trip may have to be nixed due to strict mitigation measures to curb COVID-19 and its array of variants, including COVID-19's Omicron variant, the current dominant strain in the US.
"We are working closely with the [Centres for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC)] and local health authorities in all ports and destinations that we visit", Carnival told the outlet.
"The rapid spread of the Omicron variant may shape how some destination authorities view even a small number of cases, even when they are being managed with our vigorous protocols".
Ashley, a passenger on the 8-day Christmas cruise, has been documenting her less-than-favourable experience of the trip. On Friday, she claimed that security guards began pulling guests from communal areas.
Carnival is not alone in its COVID-related changes, as the CDC confirmed earlier this week that it was investigating a Royal Caribbean vessel due to an outbreak resulting in more than 50 positive cases of COVID-19 on the vessel.
"All cases appear to be mild or asymptomatic", said CDC spokesperson David Daigle to USA TODAY. "Additionally, there have been no COVID-19 related hospitalizsations, medical evacuations, ventilator use, or deaths from this ship".
The CDC possesses the authority to mark a ship "Red", meaning it must return to its home port.