Third Florida-Based Cruise Sees COVID Outbreak

Carnival Freedom denied entry to Aruba and Bonaire
By Josh Gardner,  Newser Staff
Posted Dec 26, 2021 6:30 AM CST
Updated Dec 26, 2021 7:00 AM CST
COVID Outbreak on Third Florida-Based Cruise
The Carnival ship Freedom was the third cruise out of South Florida to report a COVID outbreak in recent days   (AP Photo/Carnival Cruise Lines, Andy Newman, file)

For the third time in recent days, a COVID outbreak has been reported on a cruise ship that set sail from Florida, where health officials have reported the highest cases in a single day since the start of the pandemic in 2020. Per CNN, the Carnival Freedom was denied entry to Aruba and Bonaire after the cruise operator said a "small number" of the 2,497 passengers and 1,112 crew members tested positive for the virus following a stop in Curacao on Tuesday. A statement from Carnival said those who tested positive were in isolation. "Our protocols anticipate this possibility and we implement them as necessary to protect the health and safety of our guests and crew," the statement read. Carnival requires all passengers be vaccinated.

Meanwhile, the ship was able to find a friendly port in the Dominican Republic, where Freedom was given the go-ahead to dock at Amber Cove. It's due back in Miami on Monday. When it arrives, omicron will be waiting. Per WFLA, the Sunshine State recently broke its record for most COVID cases in a day, fueled by the highly transmissible, but potentially less deadly, variant's surge. Friday reportedly saw 31,758 new cases, surpassing the previous high of 27,802, set in August as the delta variant tore through the state. Also out of South Florida, the Royal Caribbean ship Odyssey of the Seas was denied entry to Curacao and Aruba this past week after CNN reports 55 passengers and crew members tested positive for the virus. Royal Caribbean ship Symphony of the Seas (the world's largest), saw some four dozen cases prior to that. (More cruise ships stories.)

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