Royal Caribbean Delays Return Of Odyssey of the Seas Due To Covid Outbreak Among Crew

I don’t think most people who are vaccinated with one of the mRNA vaccines in widest use in the United States have too much to fear from Covid-19, and shouldn’t be overly concerned about catching the virus on a cruise ship. However I still don’t think it’s a good idea to cruise now, even if you’re vaccinated.

That’s because other people might catch the virus, and you might be forced to quarantine. Or worse yet, your ship might not be able to dock. I’d want greater certainty that a cruise is going to end according to its published itinerary before recommending a return to sailing.

Royal Caribbean has just delayed the return of its Odyssey of the Seas ship due to a Covid-19 outbreak among crew. Its planned July 3 departure has been pushed back to July 31.

  • The ship’s 1400 crewmembers were vaccinated on June 4
  • On June 10 eight crewmembers tested positive. They are suffering mild or asymptomatic cases.
  • The ships crew all have to quarantine for 14 days

Credit: Royal Caribbean

What’s striking to me is, in saying that everyone was vaccinated on June 4, it seems likely that they were given the Johnson & Johnson vaccine which is a one dose regimen. That’s logistically easier than bringing everyone back three (Pfizer) or four (Moderna) weeks later, and indeed using the Moderna shot the crew wouldn’t have been in a position to sail on July 3.

While the Johnson & Johnson is a good vaccine – it performs better than what I’d hoped we would see in terms of effectiveness a year ago – real world data on Pfizer and on both Pfizer and Moderna demonstrate just how effective the mRNA vaccines are against the virus and its variants and in particular even against asymptomatic cases.

With the way the cruise industry has been decimated by the pandemic, and with its reputation hanging in the balance, I’d have expected them to take precautions like ensuring everyone on board received the most protective vaccine possible – both to avoid spreading something to a guest, and to avoid the P.R. nightmare of a Covid cluster that shuts down cruise ships once again.

In this case though the positive cases appeared days after a first shot, and in some cases infections could even have predated vaccination, so the choice of vaccine wouldn’t have stopped this delay (since they didn’t get the crew vaccinated until June). However going forward I’d expect they’d want as much protection as possible.

(HT: Cheryl)

About Gary Leff

Gary Leff is one of the foremost experts in the field of miles, points, and frequent business travel - a topic he has covered since 2002. Co-founder of frequent flyer community, emcee of the Freddie Awards, and named one of the "World's Top Travel Experts" by Conde' Nast Traveler (2010-Present) Gary has been a guest on most major news media, profiled in several top print publications, and published broadly on the topic of consumer loyalty. More About Gary »

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  1. I’m a cruise lover and can’t wait to get back on-board one. I’ve had a really rough year, and a cruise is the only vacation I’ve found where I can truly escape and relax. Could definitely use one ASAP.

    That being said, you nailed my current feelings, Gary. Regarding COVID, I’d feel safe boarding a ship tomorrow, but I wouldn’t feel confident that I’d enjoy the cruise as much as I did before. Way too much is up in the air regarding potential contact tracing quarantine and being stuck at sea. I’ve been quarantined for norovirus before, in an inside cabin, and it’s definitely not something I want to live through again.

  2. I am ready to cruise… more than ready. .Royal Carribbean has a ship out now with passengers on board – Adventure of the Seas from Bahamas. All passengers were tested before boarding. They will be given tests on board before returning to Bahamas. I have been vaccinated. When I fly domestically the US airlines have no requirements for tests before boarding. How many passengers – or crew members – on a plane would should a positive test reading? And how many of those tests would be accurate? (False positive results.). There are some who never wanted to cruise and will continue that attitude. I go into grocery stores. No tests required. I go on airplanes. No tests required. Royal has,, along with other cruise lines, been shut down by the CDC. Royal is following procedures for healthy return to cruising. CDC did not shut down airlines or passenger trains. I am tired of this government and government workers shutting down living. I have confidence in Royal Caribbean. I have no confidence in the CDC. And certainly no confidence in Fauci.

  3. then you learn the vaccines cause variants of concern AND in just about everywhere, after vax rollout – cases/deaths spikes. SPIKE PROTEIN damage. Search SALK – Spike Protein.

    twitter – mconceptions has great graphs using OUR WORLD IN DATA.
    also twitter – Lara Rodriguez

    Also search – Nobel Prize winner vaccine variants (Luc Montagnier)

    Even inventor of mRNA (Steve Malone) says C19 vax causes variants. Find that on Youtube.

    Many countries / regions which had near zero issues now have issues. See SE Asia – Thailand, Cambodia, Laos, Vietnam. Also Taiwan. Many island nations…like Curacao, Seychelles (Most vaxed country!)

  4. the truth about the JNJ vaccine— it’s great! it’ s just a SLOW vaccine in terms of building immunity– it takes about 45 days or so for the vaccine to fully ramp up in your immune system. Horribly planned rollout of the vaccine, although in the long run, everyone receiving it will do fine. I’m an MD

  5. @KL – I agree it’s great, but if your goal is to prevent ANY infection and to prevent ANY spread you’re going to come closer with the mRNA vaccines

  6. @Michael – did I hurt your feelings? Your ego? Or do you get a big paycheck from the pHARMa industry?

    I gave my sources. If you don’t trust OUR WORLD IN DATA (Very high quality data source) , well I guess we might as well throw out all the data. Which now we probably can because CDC is manipulating the definition of case/death by PCR cycles now between vax/unvax..

    It’s plain as day. All you hurl are insults. This is called brainwashing and emotional blindness. Happened many times throughout history, and the biggest fraud (In history) re: C19 is yet to come…but that doesn’t have anything to do with pharma nor anything in the medical field per se. We won’t see this one (collectively) until society sinks a lot more. Enjoy the roller coaster!

    as for C19 We’ll see on the next weakness cycle…oh wait…we already see that in South America and starting recently in South Africa. Seasonality rules though.

    #1 book on Amazon health policy – Miller’s Review of Critical Vaccine Studies. 400 studies…is an interesting source for anyone reading this comment.

    You can verify what I wrote in under 10 minutes. Less than 5 if you go to the Twitter pages and see a few recent posts.

    Thanks to Gary for allowing that comment. I’ll support folks (in this case – credit card links) who allow this info to be posted. I can’t say the word “truth” so much because that is in the eye of the beholder.

    Love is blind so the saying goes. Who loves vaccines? Deep rooted emotions about vax mixed in with parental love probably from when we were babies.

  7. @vaxtruth Please, Neil Miller is an antivaxxer, generally regarded as a whack job. Idiots following idiots!

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