For the third time this week, a COVID-19 outbreak erupted on a cruise ship based in South Florida, just as cases in that state reached their second highest level since the start of the pandemic.
In a statement, Carnival said the Carnival Freedom cruise ship had refused entry to Bonaire and Aruba. It is not known for certain how many passengers or crew are sick.
The ship, carrying 2,497 passengers and 1,112 crew members, was due to return to Miami after an eight-day cruise.
Carnival said all passengers had to be vaccinated and tested before sailing last Saturday.
“Carnival Freedom is following all protocols and has a small number of people on board isolated due to testing positive for COVID,” the statement said.
“Our protocols anticipate this possibility and are implementing them as necessary to protect the health of our passengers and crew,” he added.
Ashley Peterson, a passenger, tweeted a photo of a letter from the captain, dated December 22, apologizing for the ship’s inability to enter Aruba and Bonaire. The letter added that each passenger will receive a sum of $100 per room due to the cancellation of planned flights at these two stations.
“We know that these unexpected changes are disappointing and affecting your holiday, but we trust you understand that this is within our control,” reads the message from Captain Mario Embembo.
This is the third time this week that an outbreak has occurred on a Carnival or Royal Caribbean cruise ship in the ports of Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Meanwhile, Florida recorded 26,811 new cases of COVID-19 on Thursday, the second highest daily number since the start of the pandemic, according to the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The highest number was last August, with 27,802 cases.