As more and more cruise ships start operating, more and more ships are reporting COVID-19 cases onboard. The next cruise ship to discover cases onboard is Costa Smeralda, the LNG-powered vessel operated by Costa Cruises.
The cruise line, part of Carnival Corporation, reports that six guests had been found positive during testing on their Mediterranean cruise, which returned to Marseille on Sunday, where the cruise line debarked the positive guests.
All guests on board the Costa Cruises ship had tested negative before the start of the cruise. The cruise line intended to have a second round of testing halfway through the voyage. However, Costa brought testing forward after one guest reported fever while onboard. The results found that six guests had been infected, all part of two families who were all close contacts with each other.
The six guests were all placed into isolation on board the ship. As with ships in the United States, the cruise ships in Europe all have dedicated areas and cabins that have been designated as quarantine areas. Guests that had been close contacts of the six guests were also placed in quarantine by the cruise line.
Although the ship made stops in Italy after the cases were confirmed onboard, Costa Cruises did not disembark guests here. After arrival in Marseille, France, the guests and close contacts were all taken home by ambulance.
The regional health agency said in a statement to press agency AFP:
“The company contacted us on Friday to inform us of the situation. The company confirmed that the persons concerned and their risk contacts were isolated as soon as they were found to be positive and that it had carried out the safe disembarkation of these persons upon their arrival in Marseille,”
The 185,010 gross tons Costa Smeralda is currently on a Mediterranean itinerary that sees her sailing from Civitavecchia/Rome to Savona, Marseilles, Barcelona, Palma, and Messina. Guests have the opportunity to embark and disembark the ship in any of the ports on the itinerary, which enabled the cruise line to disembark the infected guests in their embarkation port and avoid the need for international travel. Although the vessel has space for 5224 guests, she is operating at 70% occupancy for the time being.
The cases onboard cruise ships seem to be increasing in recent weeks. However, this is no surprise. More and more cruise ships are operating each day, and with that comes the risk of cases being discovered onboard. Of course, the fact that the cruise lines are finding these cases this fast speaks volumes about the effectiveness of the procedures and regulations the cruise lines have implemented.
In recent weeks we have seen positive cases onboard Adventure of the Seas, a ship sailing in the Bahamas with vaccinated guests, Carnival Vista sailing from Florida with vaccinated guests, Celebrity Millennium sailing from St. Maarten, and now Costa Smeralda sailing with both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests. We have also seen that the ship quickly identified and dealt with the cases every time.
It proves then that in this day and age, cruise ships are indeed one of the safest holiday destinations. Covid-19 seems to be all around us, but as long as the cruise industry does its part, as it has been doing, there is little to worry about on board the cruise ships.