More cruise ships report Covid cases as omicron surges

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MSC said that the 28 Covid cases on the Seashore are among 4,714 guests and crew -- 0.6% of the onboard population.
MSC said that the 28 Covid cases on the Seashore are among 4,714 guests and crew -- 0.6% of the onboard population. Photo Credit: Ivan Sarfatti

ONBOARD THE MSC SEASHORE -- The MSC Seashore, Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas and Cunard's Queen Mary 2 have been affected by Covid cases.

Twenty-eight fully vaccinated guests and crew on the MSC Seashore have tested positive for Covid-19. The Seashore is the latest ship to report cases as the omicron variant surges in the U.S. 

MSC said that the 28 cases are among 4,714 guests and crew -- 0.6% of the onboard population. The ship reported that the majority of those that tested positive are asymptomatic or have very mild symptoms.

Guests at the bar on the MSC Seashore's lido deck.
Guests at the bar on the MSC Seashore's lido deck. Photo Credit: Johanna Jainchill

MSC said it discovered the cases via routine testing and that all cases and their close contacts were being isolated in balcony cabins in a dedicated area of the ship.

The news came during a five-day cruise that is ending in Miami on Dec. 23.

MSC reminded everyone aboard to continue wearing masks indoors unless eating or drinking and to practice social distancing. The ship is providing complimentary Covid testing to any guests that choose to be tested.

"I'm not too worried," said an MSC Seashore passenger from Raleigh, N.C. "We always wear masks indoors and we got our boosters. We'll be a little more careful about social distancing for tonight." 

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Three passengers and 52 crew members tested positive for Covid on Royal Caribbean International's newest ship, the Odyssey of the Seas, which departed Fort Lauderdale on Dec. 18 for an eight-day cruise.

According to reports, the ship, carrying 3,587 passengers and 1,599 crew, had returned to port on Sunday to disembark a passenger with Covid. The passengers and crew who have since tested positive are in quarantine along with their close contacts, Royal Caribbean said in a statement.

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Cunard Line's Queen Mary 2, making its first transatlantic crossing since March 2020, arrived in New York City with 10 positive passenger cases among 1,473 guests.

Cunard said in a statement the cases were found during routine testing and that 0.7% had tested positive for Covid-19 and were being disembarked in New York "in line with our framework of protocols and due to the length and complexity of the onward itinerary, which includes a number of Caribbean ports of call and countries."

All Cunard guests must be fully vaccinated to travel, with pre-embarkation testing for all.

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Royal Caribbean last week said that 48 people on a Symphony of the Seas cruise had tested positive for Covid-19,  and before that Norwegian Cruise Line reported a "handful" of cases on a sailing from New Orleans. 

According to reports, the Carnival Panorama canceled a call at Cabo San Lucas after local authorities demanded all passengers be tested due to Covid cases onboard. St. Lucia denied entry to Royal Caribbean's Explorer of the Seas after crew members tested positive.

The reports of Covid come with the highly transmissible omicron variant taking hold in the U.S., representing 73% of new infections according to the CDC -- a nearly sixfold increase in only seven days. 

Over the last week, Royal Caribbean, Carnival and Norwegian all tightened their ship protocols and began mandating that even vaccinated guests wear masks indoors unless eating or drinking.

Royal Caribbean said last Friday that it would require all passengers to wear masks indoors on sailings through Jan. 5. MSC already requires that guests wear masks indoors in public areas unless eating or drinking.

Updated: This report was updated to remove the word "outbreak." The CDC only considers the number of cases of illness on a ship an outbreak if it exceeds 3% of the people onboard.

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