Ever since the cruise industry ground to a painful halt, we haven’t heard about too many different instances of coronavirus outbreaks on cruise ships. This is a good thing, and it means that we are avoiding potentially dangerous infections breaking out on packed cruise ships. However, with some cruise lines beginning to resume operations, we are already seeing the coronavirus cases occur again. This time, two different cruise lines have confirmed infections on their ships: Paul Gauguin and Hurtigruten.
Paul Gauguin, a smaller cruise line that is based out of Washington, has confirmed as of August 2nd that it has a coronavirus case on its ship that has been docked in Papeete, the capital city of French Polynesia. While we don’t know whether it was a passenger or a crew member, we do know that this voyage has been cancelled due to it. This was only Paul Gauguin’s second sailing since they had restarted their operations last month. It should also be noted that Paul Gauguin has had some relatively strict health measures aboard this ship, yet this infection was still able to happen. It is unclear whether the case was contracted on the ship or simply brought onto the ship from someone who got infected while on land.
While Paul Gauguin has only confirmed the presence of one case on their ship, Hurtigruten is dealing with an entire outbreak on their vessel Roald Amundsen. Apparently 33 crew members have currently tested positive. There were sailings aboard Roald Amundsen on both July 17th and July 24th, so all guests who could have possibly come into contact with an infected crew member have been notified, and are being told to move into self-quarantine, as per Norwegian health rules.
What does this mean for these companies?
While neither Paul Gauguin nor Hurtigruten have released statements about what their next moves are, this is not a good sign. Both cruise lines had only just begun sailing again, and the fact that coronavirus was able to be transmitted this quickly just means that they were not prepared to offer a completely safe experience for their guests. We can only guess, but we expect to see both companies either cancel future sailings or enforce even stricter health measures than before.
Hurtigruten has already cancelled one sailing on Roald Amundsen that was supposed to leave on August 7th, with Paul Gauguin not yet announcing more cancellations.