Travels are once again facing disruptions due to COVID; At least 4 trains are banned from disembarking passengers this week

At least four cruise lines have been denied ports of call or barred from allowing passengers to disembark in the Americas this week because of COVID-19 cases on board.

Although other cruises have been the case since US ships resumed service this summer with requirements for vaccines and other measures to mitigate the outbreak, the proportion of travel forced to change itinerary seems to have increased.

The disruption is still a far cry from March 2020, when the pandemic shut down the industry and led to weeks of efforts to get passengers and crew members home as ports closed to ships being shut down. viral infection.

However, this week’s disruption comes amid global concern about the highly transmissible omicron coronavirus variant, and as COVID case rates rise in the United States and elsewhere.

MORE | Initial indicators show mild, flu-like omicron symptoms; need more data to be sure

Recent cruise ship disruptions include:

Holland America Line Koningsdam

Mexican officials prevented the Holland America Line Koningsdam from disembarking its passengers in Puerto Vallarta on Thursday after 21 crew members tested positive for COVID, the Jalisco state health department said.

Holland America Line told CNN that “a small number of fully vaccinated crews” tested positive and all had mild or no symptoms.

Jalisco health authorities will initially allow those who test negative to be discharged. However, it changed its mind, citing an “exponential increase in confirmed cases in the crew” on Thursday, the department said. The department said only one crew member had tested positive less than a week earlier.

The ship, which departed San Diego on December 19 with more than 1,000 passengers and more than 870 crew members, visited Cabo San Lucas and Mazatlán before arriving in Puerto Vallarta. It will return to San Diego as scheduled on Sunday.

Holland America Line, like the other cruise companies in this story, requires passengers and crew to be fully vaccinated against COVID, with some exceptions for children.

Freedom Festival

Ports in the Caribbean islands of Bonaire and Aruba rejected the Carnival Freedom ship on Wednesday and Thursday, respectively, after “a small number” of people on board tested positive for COVID-19, the cruise line said. .

However, the company has arranged an alternative stop on Friday in the Dominican Republic.

It was allowed to stop in Curacao on Tuesday. Dr Izzy Gerstenbluth, Curacao’s national epidemiologist, said the ship informed him before docking that crew members had tested positive. After visiting the ship and identifying the cases contained among the crew, Curacao allowed the passengers on board to disembark, with the rest of the crew on board, he said.

The ship returned to Miami as planned on Sunday, the cruise line said.

Passenger Jim Storupski told CNN affiliate WPLG-TV his experience on board was positive, adding that the company was “very accommodating”. His wife, Connie, praised the company for its COVID safety protocols and said they “had a good time.” The couple said they plan to sail with the company again in two weeks.

Other passengers reported a different experience. “It was horrible,” Leah Murray told WPLG-TV of her frustration over the Covid-19 cases on board. “They barely informed us of anything. They let everyone go about their business.” She said she felt the line was “very irresponsible” with COVID protocols.

Royal Caribbean Odyssey of the Seas

Officials in Curacao and Aruba Decline Royal Caribbean Odyssey of the Seas This week, after 55 fully vaccinated crew members and passengers contracted COVID, the Miami Herald reported Wednesday.

Curacao health officials decided the proportion of people on board who tested positive was too high for the country to allow the ship to dock, the Curacao Chronicle reported.

The ship will return to Florida’s Fort Lauderdale as scheduled on Sunday.

According to Royal Caribbean, the ship can accommodate up to 5,550 guests plus 1,600 crew members. It is unclear whether the ship has been filled or not.

Seven Seas Mariner

Colombian officials prevented the Seven Seas Mariner from letting anyone off the ship in Cartagena on Wednesday, after seven positive cases of COVID – in six crew members and one passenger – were reported. The ship embarked on an 18-day voyage from Miami to San Francisco on December 18.

Also this month, at least 48 people on board the Royal Caribbean Symphony of the Seas have tested positive for COVID, the cruise line said after the ship ended its voyage in Miami on December 18. That ship, carrying more than 6,000 passengers and crew members. , stopped at three islands and did not report cruise disruptions.

The disruption has so far affected a small portion of cruise ship operations

The variable cruises represent a small fraction of the dozens of cruise ships operating in the Caribbean Sea, Gulf of Mexico, Atlantic and broader Pacific Ocean at any time this month.

Positive COVID tests on a cruise ship aren’t unique this month – they’ve happened another time since cruises resumed departing from US shores this summer.

For example, in August 27 people tested positive on a Carnival cruise ship before it docked in Belize City.

However, while those who tested positive were quarantined on board, others were allowed to disembark there if they provided proof of a negative test result.

Now, the spread of the omicron variant “could shape how some destination governments view a small number of cases, even when they are being managed using our robust protocols,” it said. Carnival spokeswoman AnneMarie Mathews told CNN Friday in a prepared statement.

“Some destinations have limited medical resources and a focus on managing the local response to variation,” added Mathews.

“If it is necessary to cancel a port, we will do our best to find an alternative destination,” Mathews said.

Health and safety protocols

Cruise companies have implemented a variety of health and safety requirements on board – and have updated them as conditions change – to avoid a repeat in spring 2020. That includes requiring vaccines. COVID to crew members and passengers (except children), with vaccines providing strong protection against severe illness and death.

The companies recommend booster injections for their passengers. Holland America Line says its crew members receive boosters as soon as they qualify.

Cruise companies often require their passengers to test negative for COVID before embarking on a trip and require their crew members to be tested regularly.

Passengers who test positive during the trip are usually required to isolate

Travel in the United States also requires the wearing of masks in public indoor areas. That policy was recently updated to extend the wearing of masks indoors to fully vaccinated passengers.

The-CNN-Wire™ & © 2021 Cable News Network, Inc., a WarnerMedia Company. Copyright Registered. Travels are once again facing disruptions due to COVID; At least 4 trains are banned from disembarking passengers this week

Dais Johnston

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