Take a cruise during a pandemic at your peril.
Some passengers on the Florida-based Carnival Freedom CCL, -0.24% cruise ship were crying foul over their curtailed Christmas-cruise schedule due to an undisclosed number of passengers testing positive for COVID-19.
It’s the third Florida-based cruise ship with passengers who tested positive for the coronavirus this past week. Passengers on two Royal Caribbean RCL, +0.09% cruise ships — Symphony of the Seas and Odyssey of the Seas — also tested positive.
One Carnival Freedom passenger, Ashley Peterson, shared a letter from the captain offering a $100 gift voucher, apologizing for cutting two of the three stops, and assuring passengers that all protocols were being followed to keep them safe.
“People have spent thousands of dollars on this cruise and picked this cruise for the ports,” she tweeted TWTR, +0.59%. “Now on an 8-day cruise we will have only gone to one place on a delayed schedule. They think $100 per room is enough compensation?”
But not everyone expressed sympathy for the Carnival Freedom passengers. One man replied: “You elected to take a cruise during a pandemic. Even vaccinated people are coming down with Delta, which is highly contagious. Sorry, not sorry.”
Carnival Freedom, which is carrying 2,497 passengers and 1,112 crew members, was due to dock in Miami on Sunday after the eight-day cruise. Passengers were required to be vaccinated and test negative for COVID-19 before departure.
While some people may not relish the idea of roaming a ship wearing face masks during a global pandemic, the cruise-line industry has been attempting to adapt to this new normal, offering week-long trips for as little as $390 per person.
The captain’s letter read in part: “The rapid spread of the Omicron variant impacts how destinations are responding to even a small number of cases,” adding, “We know these unexpected changes are disappointing.”
“‘People have spent thousands of dollars on this cruise and picked this cruise for the ports.’”
The cruise line did not say how many people tested positive. “Carnival Freedom is following all protocols and has a small number on board who are in isolation due to a positive COVID test,” according to a statement released to the media.
“Our protocols anticipate this possibility, and we implement them as necessary to protect the health and safety of our guests and crew. This is a vaccinated cruise, and all guests were also tested before embarkation,” the statement added.
Royal Caribbean said all passengers were required to be vaccinated and have negative COVID-19 tests. Those who tested positive were quarantined; their close contacts were also quarantined and monitored for 24 hours prior to testing.
“We are sailing with a layered set of health and safety measures in place to make our cruises the safest vacations possible,” according to statement about the breakthrough cases released by the cruise line to NBC News.
Carnival Freedom did not immediately respond to comment regarding the number of people who tested positive for COVID-19 or the compensation offered by the company. Royal Caribbean was not immediately available for comment.
Travel on cruise ships is particularly popular among families and the elderly, and the risk of contagion is relatively high on a ship. Younger children with strong immune systems have the lowest fatality and hospitalization rates from COVID-19.
Florida recorded an average of 17,825 new daily cases of COVID-19 on Christmas Day, up 818% over the last two weeks, according to the New York Times daily coronavirus tracker. Daily hospitalizations averaged 2,007, up 44%.
COVID-19, the disease caused by the new virus SARS-CoV-2, has killed 809,300 Americans. There is a daily average of 201,330 new cases in the U.S., up 69% over two weeks, according to the New York Times tracker.