About 100 cruise ships are now being monitored for COVID-19 cases by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
This comes as the agency last week also issued a travel notice advising against cruise travel, regardless of vaccination status, as the CDC raised its threat level to four (a very high level of COVID-19).
The Cruise Lines International Association criticised the move, saying that it was “disappointed and disagrees with the decision to single out the cruise industry”.
The CDC has also extended its framework for conditional sailing order that was implemented last year which stipulates which ships are allowed to sail and the protocols they must follow to keep passengers and staff safe.
Although the situation is concerning, Cayman cruise shipper Joy Basdeo says, given her recent experience aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas, one of the ships being monitored, she’s already planning another cruise.
Caymanian couple Joy and Sam Basdeo onboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas over the Christmas holidays. – Photo: Submitted
She and her husband, Sam Basdeo, were on the cruise with another couple, when the ship was flagged after it reported a 0.03% rate of COVID-19 cases among those onboard.
The couples said they were not concerned by the cases as they were all vaccinated and the vessel was sailing at half-capacity.
“We made a decision on cruising after careful consideration of the facts as we could find them, knowing we were vaccinated, boosted, and careful… I felt completely safe because they had proper, enforced protocols in place,” she added.
Basdeo said they took their second-day lateral flow tests which came back negative.
She said they have not encountered any other issues.
She added she has kept up with developments after their return, such as the CDC’s red flag for ships sailing with 1% positive cases and the Norwegian Pearl turning back because of a rate of more than 1%.
Noting that the number of COVID cases from her cruise has not been released, she said several people in their Facebook group from the US said they tested positive when they got home.
“Based on the CDC guidelines we would have had less than 17 positives. I don’t know if that included passengers and crew,” she said.
The Spectrum of the Seas cruise ship out of Hong Kong was ordered to suspend services after nine passengers were exposed to Omicron.
Every passenger on board was tested and they all returned negative results, but the reports out of Hong Kong stated government issued the order to cut the sailing short.
Though she stopped short of counting herself lucky to get off the cruise when they did, she said things could have turned out differently.
“It might have been different after New Year’s Eve when there was such an explosion of cases across the world. No one knows what the next eight weeks will bring, either here or across the world. We can only hope that the end is in sight, and try and stay positive just a bit longer,” she said.
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