(CNN) — At least four ocean cruise ships were turned away from ports of call or were prohibited from letting passengers disembark in the Americas this week because of Covid-19 cases aboard.
The recent cruise ship disruptions include:
A “small number of fully vaccinated crew” tested positive and all showed either mild or no symptoms, Holland America Line told CNN.
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Jalisco health authorities initially were going to allow people testing negative to disembark. However, they changed their mind, citing an “exponential growth of confirmed cases in the crew” by Thursday, the department said. Only one crew member had tested positive less than a week earlier, the department said.
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 it arrived in Puerto Vallarta. It was due to 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-19, with some exceptions for children.
However, the company lined up a replacement stop Friday in the Dominican Republic.
The ship returned to Miami as planned on Sunday, the cruise line said.
Passenger Jim Storupski told CNN affiliate WPLG his experience onboard was positive, adding the company was “very accommodating.” His wife, Connie, praised the company for its Covid-19 safety protocols and said they “had a good time.” The couple said they plan to sail with the company again in two weeks.
The Royal Caribbean Odyssey of The Seas.
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Curacao health officials decided the percentage of people aboard who tested positive was too high for the nation to allow the ship to dock, the Curacao Chronicle reported.
The ship is due to return to Florida’s Fort Lauderdale as planned on Sunday.
According to Royal Caribbean, the ship can accommodate up to 5,550 guests plus 1,600 crew members. It wasn’t clear whether the ship was fully occupied.
The Seven Seas Mariner.
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The disruptions so far have affected a small fraction of operating cruise ships
Positive Covid-19 tests aboard cruise ships aren’t unique to this month — they have happened other times since cruises resumed departures from US shores this summer.
In August, for instance, 27 people tested positive aboard a Carnival cruise ship before it called on a port in Belize City.
Now, the 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,” Carnival spokesperson AnneMarie Mathews told CNN Friday in a prepared statement.
“Some destinations have limited medical resources and are focused on managing their own local response to the variant,” Mathews added.
“Should it be necessary to cancel a port, we will do our best to find an alternative destination,” Mathews said.
Health and safety protocols
The companies recommend booster shots for their passengers. Holland America Line says its crew members receive boosters as soon as they are eligible.
Cruise companies generally require their passengers to test negative for Covid-19 before starting the trip, and require frequent testing of their crews.
Passengers testing positive during the trip generally are required to isolate
CNN’s Francesca Street, Melissa Alonso, Aya Elamroussi, Carma Hassan, Hira Humayun, Stefano Pozzebon, Valentina DiDonato and Sharif Paget contributed to this report.