It seems history is repeating itself. Cruise lines are beginning to cancel future cruises after several coronavirus outbreaks recently shook the industry. This comes in the midst of a swell in cases caused by the new Omicron variant. While the popular opinion seems to be heading towards the idea that Omicron is milder than Delta, these outbreaks on cruise ships have still caused a lot of concern throughout (and outside of) the industry. Whether these cancellations become more widespread remains to be seen. For now, though, here’s an update on the outbreaks and the related issues.
Widely reported on by mainstream news outlets, several large cruise ships saw relatively widespread outbreaks of the coronavirus this holiday season. One of the most recent to struggle with this was the MSC Grandiosa, which reported a confirmed 45 cases on January 4th. This was out of a total of 4813 passengers. Princess saw similar cases aboard their ships, as well. Royal Caribbean has also had three ships report COVID cases as of January 5th. Symphony of the Seas is thought to have had 48 cases onboard while Oasis of the Seas reported 55. Harmony of the Seas also reported cases.
Stats from the CDC
Unfortunately, these outbreaks were not one-off events. According to data that was recent as of January 5th, “all 92 cruise ships currently sailing in U.S. waters had people on board infected by COVID-19.” Additionally, the CDC reported that there were 5013 COVID cases on cruise ships during the holiday season. This is compared to only 162 cases in the two weeks leading up to the holidays. Cases on cruise ships are definitely trending upward just as they are throughout the rest of the world.
These outbreaks have not gone unnoticed by cruise lines. A slew of cancellations have been announced in the past week. On January 4th, Royal announced that the next itinerary onboard the Spectrum of the Seas would be canceled. The next day, January 5th, saw cancellations from two other cruise lines. Norwegian canceled an itinerary on Norwegian Gateway, Dream Cruises canceled sailings on January 5th and 7th. Norwegian also canceled or delayed a slew of other sailings in light of the spread of coronavirus. The exact details on that can be found here.
While we hope that the COVID situation eases and cruise travel remains possible, things are not looking great at the moment. It would be wise to expect further cancellations in coming weeks. We’ll make sure to keep you updated!