It’s been confirmed by the Belize Tourism Board that there was 27 positive cases onboard the Carnival Vista cruise ship when it made a call to Belize City on August 11, 2021. Despite the cases, the cruise continues, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has already investigated and the ship continues to be under observation.
Carnival Vista’s Belize Call
There has been no lack of online discussions ever since it was announced that Carnival Vista has positive cases on board. On the current seven-day Western Caribbean voyage, 27 people tested positive, 26 crew members, and 1 passenger.
Before the Carnival cruise ship made its call in Belize, the ship submitted its Maritime Declaration, a requirement by the CDC as part of the 2005 International Health Regulations.
The Belize Tourism Board confirms that it met virtually with leadership from the Carnival Vista and the Minister of Tourism and Diaspora Relations to discuss the situation on board and the risk for the call in Belize. The meeting took place the day before on August 10.
Cruise lines, including Carnival Cruise Line, have protocols to deal with these outbreaks, and all infected were isolated, and no additional cases were found. At the time the ship called at Belize, there were 2,895 guests and 1,441 crew members on board.
With the situation under control by the Carnival Vista, the ship was allowed to make its scheduled call on Wednesday with an arrival time of 8:00 AM. However, as a precaution and after a thorough review, it was decided that all cruise ship passengers arriving in Belize would show proof of a negative test result. All those who were unable to show proof would be subject to random testing by the Ministry of Health and Wellness.
The Belize Tourism Board has also been transparent with Carnival Vista’s situation and released that all 27 people who tested positive are vaccinated, and most are asymptomatic or have mild symptoms. Carnival Cruise Line also announced before Carnival Vista’s call in Belize that its new mask guidelines would go into effect immediately due to the positive cases on board.
This means more mask-wearing indoors including spaces such as elevators and crowded areas. For Carnival Vista, all crew social areas have also been closed.
Guests got to enjoy their day in Belize, and the ship departed at approximately 5:00 PM. There is no large pier available for ships in Belize City, so passengers that visited the country were transported via water shuttles.
Should Guests Be Worried?
Now that the number of positive cases is known onboard the Carnival Vista, many might start to worry if it’s safe to cruise, especially for those guests who have an upcoming departure on the ship. At the moment, cruise ships are among the safest places to be, and cruise lines have protocols in place to deal with COVID.
With all 27 people who tested positive, they were all fully vaccinated. There is no doubt that the virus is not going away soon, so cruise ships will have to operate under this new reality.
Carnival Cruise Line’s Have Fun. Be Safe protocols ensure swift reaction when an outbreak occurs and is not just following guidance from its own health experts but also the CDC.
According to the CDC, six Carnival cruise ships, including the Carnival Vista, are currently under yellow status. Four of those ships, including the Carnival Vista, are under observation, and two of those ships are under investigation. So the CDC is aware of what’s going on and will deal with any outbreak that gets out of control.
Cruise lines, including Carnival, are working with the CDC to make sure operations continue safely, and with important dialogue, the cruise industry should be able to avoid another complete shutdown. Gone are the days of the Diamond Princess, which had an outbreak in the early days of the pandemic. Cruise lines have made many changes onboard to reduce the risk.
What’s Next for Carnival Vista?
The cruise ship is coming to the end of its week-long voyage, which departed Port of Galveston in Texas on August 7. Carnival Vista has already completed the final call in Cozumel, Mexico, as normal on Thursday and will sail a final day at sea before arriving home on Saturday morning.
The next voyage is set to go ahead as scheduled, which is another seven-day itinerary. The crew members who tested positive will likely remain in isolation on board with monitoring by the ship medical team.
Carnival Cruise Line’s new testing requirement for fully vaccinated guests also goes into effect from August 14. This will provide further protection for future cruises until the end of October 2021.