Florida Carnival Freedom Cruise Hit With Covid-19 Outbreak

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A group of passengers and crew aboard a Carnival Freedom cruise have tested positive for Covid-19 consequently causing the ship denied entry to Bonaire and Aruba, Carnival Cruise Line confirmed Thursday. The cruise ship reportedly departed from Miami Saturday and was headed for the southern Caribbean.

The Miami Herald reported that this Covid-19 outbreak marks the third in less than a week affecting cruise ships overseen by Carnival and Royal Caribbean after departing from various Florida ports.

The infections come as the omicron variant has apparently become the dominant strain of the coronavirus in America. The variant has proven virulent, often infecting those fully inoculated for Covid-19, even with additional booster shots in many cases.

Carnival officials told the Miami Herald Thursday that a small number of people infected on the ship have been isolated from other customers and crew. The cruise ship company declined to state how many passengers and crew members have tested positive or are in quarantine. The ship reportedly has 2,497 passengers and 1,112 crew members.

“We are working closely with the CDC and local health authorities in all ports and destinations that we visit,” Carnival said. “Some destinations have limited medical resources and are focused on managing their own local response to the (omicron) variant.”

Royal Caribbean also saw recent outbreaks of the Covid-19 virus, with the cruise line confirming 55 fully Covid-inoculated crew and passengers testing positive for the virus on Wednesday.

Cruise Captain Mario Imbimbo had to deliver the bad news to the Carnival ship customers, informing the ship Wednesday morning about the blocked entry to Bonaire due to COVID-19 cases among people on board.

In a letter to passengers, Imbimbo wrote, “I want to apologize again that we are unable to make our call in Bonaire. The rapid spread of the Omicron variant impacts how destinations are responding to even a small number of cases.”

Some customers of the cruise expressed frustration with how they handled the ordeal, often citing a lack of transparency and unjust compensation.

“They refuse to tell us any numbers at all,” passenger Ashley Peterson said of Carnival outbreak. “A lot of passengers are complaining and upset about the lack of transparency.”

Meanwhile, a woman named Corvaya Jeffries told Miami Herald that she has family members on the ship who she has not yet heard from. She claimed that they have yet to get back to her and that Carnival has provided her no information in order to help.

“I’ve reached out to Carnival through every platform and every method and have not received a response,” she said. “Not only are the people aboard frustrated with the lack of transparency…but us family members are worried sick about our loved ones.”

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