Of Course There’s A Coronavirus Outbreak On The First Caribbean Cruise In Months…

Filed Under: Travel

Wait, you mean to tell me that over 10% of the passengers on the first Caribbean cruise since the pandemic started caught coronavirus? All on a cruise line where no one was wearing a mask? That can’t be!

SeaDream resumes Caribbean cruises

While most major cruise lines have suspended operations in the Caribbean through next year, that’s not the case across the board. SeaDream Yacht Club became the first cruise line to resume international operations in Europe over the summer, and this past week it became the first cruise line to resume operations in the Caribbean.

Starting November 7, SeaDream intended to operate 22 roundtrip cruises from Barbados, mostly lasting a week. The first cruise departed last Saturday, with 53 passengers and 66 crew onboard.

The cruise line required testing but no masks

What kind of precautions was the cruise line taking?

  • Travelers needed a negative COVID-19 PCR test 48-72 hours before arriving in Barbados, per country requirements
  • Then upon boarding the ship, passengers got a rapid test using Abbot ID NOW technology

That’s all fine, but the bizarre part is that both employees and guests weren’t encouraged to wear masks. Why? According to the cruise line’s SVP of Hotel Operations:

“So far, we do not want people to be wearing masks. That’s why you get tested before. We want you to enjoy the SeaDream experience.”

You’d think resuming cruising as such would defy common sense enough, but then on top of that they don’t want to take the precaution of requiring people to wear masks, because apparently life can’t be enjoyed with a mask? It’s a little concerning if this person doesn’t understand that masks are supposed to be an additional layer of protection beyond testing, rather than one replacing the other.

At least six people tested positive for coronavirus

I think the story of what happened on this cruise can best be summed up by headlines from The Points Guy cruise writer Gene Sloan, who decided to take the cruise for whatever reason.

How it started:

“Surprisingly normal: What it’s like on board the first Caribbean cruise since March”

How it progressed:

“Day 2: I’m stuck on a cruise ship lockdown due to COVID”

How it ended:

“Breaking: More passengers test positive for COVID on Caribbean cruise ship”

What happened is that one person tested positive, then four more people tested positive, and then a sixth person tested positive. Yes, that represents over 10% of the passengers.

As you’d expect, this required the cruise ship to turn around and go back to port, though passengers haven’t actually been allowed off the ship, since no country wants to let in a bunch of people with coronavirus. One person has been allowed off in order to be hospitalized — hopefully s/he is okay.

Why are people being so easy on the cruise line?

I’m a little bit confused about how the people who were on the cruise to document it are giving the cruise line a free pass.

There were some vloggers on the cruise. I’m not sure about their financial relationship with the cruise line, but their website indicates that they “work” with cruise lines on exposure, so…

Here’s a 10 minute video from them, where you can see things progress from “we’re totally comfortable” to “get us the hell off of here now.”

They also don’t understand how testing works. They say “testing doesn’t work,” and they base that on the fact that everyone had a test but there were still people with coronavirus. And that’s a completely outrageous claim, but I guess it’s echoed by the cruise company, which claimed that if everyone was tested there’s no way anyone could have coronavirus.

Then there are their Tweets. The cruise line didn’t even take the most basic precaution of requiring passengers and crew to wear masks, yet they suggest that they’re sure the cruise line will take good care of those with coronavirus:

Really? The cruise line that’s telling people not to wear masks? Do they really deserve the benefit of the doubt?

And then there’s this:

Again, really? “We honestly can’t fault anything?”

Meanwhile Gene Sloan of The Points Guy reports on how there started to be a mask requirement a few days into the cruise, presumably around the time the first case was discovered:

“Initially, as the cruise began, SeaDream didn’t require passengers to wear masks, and not a single one of the 53 passengers on board chose to do so. The consensus among passengers on board was that the COVID testing regime was so rigorous that mask-wearing was redundant.

But on Monday evening, the ship’s activity director announced that the line was tightening its rules. Passengers now are required to wear masks when moving around the ship. Crew are wearing masks at all times.

Many passengers are angry at SeaDream because of the tightened mask-wearing mandate. One passenger on Tuesday blew up at me, too, suggesting that SeaDream had changed its mask-wearing rule due to my presence on board. A SeaDream representative told me that was not the case.”

Gene truly seems like a nice guy, so I’m not trying to pick on him here. But why was he reporting in the first place on how everything on the cruise seemed “normal,” not expressing he was uncomfortable with the concept of a bunch of anti-maskers getting on a ship together?

Instead he just regurgitated the cruise line’s talking point that the ship is effectively a COVID-free “bubble” where mask-wearing isn’t critical.

Isn’t this the point at which someone reporting on this should step in and say “and that’s something I’m not comfortable with and disagree with, and this is in direct contradiction to what health authorities recommend?”

What a disaster for the cruise industry

The travel industry on the whole has a long road to recovery, but the cruise industry in particular is in an even more challenging situation. You’d think that resuming cruising in the Caribbean would come with great responsibility, and that a cruise line would go over-the-top with precautions, realizing the whole world is watching.

The success of SeaDream’s first several sailings has impacts for the entire cruise industry — if they went well it would do a bit of good for helping people start to feel better about cruising. But when on the very first cruise over 10% of passengers (and counting) get coronavirus? Well, not so much.

SeaDream’s little 53 person cruise has done an unbelievable amount of damage to the cruise industry recovering, in my opinion.

The unique challenges cruise lines face

I’ve written in the past about the general challenges that people face when traveling internationally nowadays, but these problems are only exacerbated when you’re on a cruise. That’s also why I don’t think the cruise industry will recover anytime soon.

Think of the logistics of international cruising. Did cruise ships six months ago being stuck at sea for weeks not teach us anything? If someone on a plane or hotel has coronavirus and you weren’t in close contact with them, you can monitor symptoms and can go on with your life and leave.

Meanwhile if this happens on a cruise ship, you’re potentially stuck there until the situation is resolved, with no way out. No country wants to let you in, and given how coronavirus spreads, you could potentially be stuck at sea for weeks with limited resources.

And this disaster was on a cruise ship with just over 100 people including crew. Can you imagine how much worse this situation would be on a mega-cruise ship with thousands of people?

Bottom line

Over 10% of the passengers on the first Caribbean cruise in months have coronavirus. Go figure it was not only a cruise ship where passengers weren’t required to wear masks, but based on all reports it sounds like the cruise line actively discouraged wearing masks, and that was specifically the reason many people booked the cruise. And that was all based on the cruise line’s incorrect understanding of how testing works (“everyone was tested twice, so therefore this is a COVID-free bubble!”).

If only someone could have seen this coming!

Anyway, most importantly, I hope that those with coronavirus recover and are okay…

Comments
  1. The fact that pax are tested every few days tells us that they recognize an infected person can be onboard even though they initially test negative. Which means that normal precautions (masks, social distancing) should be in place until they actually form a bubble (14 days of negative tests of all onboard). Taking no precautions before then makes little sense. We’re almost a year into this pandemic so the pax are aware of how life works now and should take responsibility also for their own well being.

  2. How do they get a pass? Same way NFL and college football does. Get tested,play contact sports with no mask, no social distancing, get covid. Sit out for a couple weeks , and go back to work. Meanwhile I just had a governor just tell us “ do not leave the house! It’s too dangerous! Cancel thanksgiving and Christmas! If you own a small business like I do, too bad. Suck it up and go watch some NFL and get educated on white privileged!

  3. The no mask mandate stems from the cruise passengers. Many have stated that they wouldn’t go on a ship if they have to wear a mask at all times. SeaDream tried to rush this out of the door and just get by testing but I don’t think there is any quarantine requirements before boarding. So they could test at home fly into Barbados and the next day after a test be on the ship aka if they got covid in the process of getting there the test might not show a positive. Some of the MSC cruises in Europe have been better equipped and able to restart some cruising.
    Ben & David made a grave disservice to a lot of people by saying testing does not work. It work but not in isolation with no other percussion.

  4. I wonder what % of the passengers were either “journalists” or vloggers in the pocket of the cruise company?

  5. @klavs Totally agree the two bloggers shouldn’t be commenting on medical and epidemiological issues. Testing absolutely works, but only if you isolate Igor take precautions s between the two sets. Most countries require self isolation until the second negative test. Second test doesn’t have to be after 14 days but between 3 to 7. What did they think was going to happen between the first test before the flight Abd the second with people mixing and I assume without wearing masks.

  6. @boom Things from two weeks ago are long forgotten – February might as well be from the 19th century. The bottom line is a lot of people will never get on board with mask wearing, no matter what the experts say or what kind of evidence is present. The people who are more likely to wear masks are also less likely to hop on a cruise anytime soon, so the industry is stuck.

  7. Not that surprised, unfortunately. Some people… The TPG posts and embedded video demonstrates that you need to get your travel reports from OMAAT. @Ben – keep up the great work! 🙂

  8. Seems like all the people who tested positive were from the same group. Hopefully no other pax will test positive. The capacity of the ship holds 112 passengers so it’s at roughly 50% capacity. I think people knew what they were going into by now and should accept the consequences of at least one person tests positive. I do wonder if the person who tested positive was of a higher risk group or not.

  9. @Johan – You’re kidding, right? That masks provide at least some level of protection is proven without any doubt what so ever, which is why the WHO, CDC and hundreds of other healthcare organizations recommends them. You do realise that healthcare professionals taking care of Covid-19 patients use masks? Sweden is doing REALLY badly compared to Norway, Finland and Denmark, with 40 (!) new deaths yesterday alone, and is pretty much the only country in the world (including the Nordics) that don’t recommend mask usage for the public in any situation what so ever. Get your facts straight. (And yes, I know that a lot of Swedes are brainwashed by Folkhälsomyndigheten, Tegnell, Giesecke and Britton – but try googling mask research and look at how Sweden is performing in terms of infections, hospitalizations and deaths compared to similar countries.)

  10. Ben, you are so right this is a disaster. No doubt they wanted the bloggers on there to spread the word of safety and here’s the link to book. Now it’s exploded in their face.

    No one can control the virus of course, people with good intentions can have unfortunate things happen. But the choice to not only have this cruise but encourage media to “report” on it when it’s basically a risky experiment is a fireable offense by whoever cleared it.

  11. What a snooty sarcastic take. Sounds like they almost did have a bubble. It’s six people calm down. Even you know it’s such a small number – hence your use of a percentage.

  12. @Johan “Estonia, Finland, and Sweden – masks are not worn anywhere.” That’s not true at all. They didn’t go into lockdowns and close everything like other places, but people in those countries absolutely wear masks and are quite responsible about it. Stop spreading fake news. Every medical professional and agency on the planet agrees masks help.

  13. Johan and Sel D. (And another idiot named Rogers) has been here spreading anti mask garbage since months ago. Not sure how they’re still allowed to post blatantly fake news that cause harm to others.

  14. Why is there an underlying assumption here that if everyone was wearing masks the result would have been different, i.e. no Covid cases? Hate to break it to you but even if there was a mask mandate there still would have been an outbreak. Please stop implying that masks are some sort of Covid force field.

  15. @Reaper asked my exact question, “I wonder what % of the passengers were either “journalists” or vloggers in the pocket of the cruise company?”

    53 passengers and at least two new media folks quoted here, how many of the rest were traditional print media, cruise consultants and the like.

    Separately THE POINTS GUY, LLC – A RED VENTURES COMPANY sure ramped up cruise coverage as COVID hit. It would be interesting to know the financial agreements that caused that increase in coverage as the industry closed down.

  16. @ Drew — That’s not at all an underlying assumption, and not what I’m suggesting. What I’m saying is that at a minimum they could have taken all reasonable/basic precautions, and they didn’t. There very well could have still been coronavirus cases with masks, but the fact that they assumed that masks weren’t necessary because they did testing is silly.

    And that gets at the second layer of this, as far as I’m concerned — while there’s risk of coronavirus everywhere, cruise ships face a special challenge, given that they are in international waters and there’s no easy way on or out, which makes even a single case much more complicated than it would be on the ground.

  17. This is the reason why Asian countries impose strict 14-day quarantines on all incoming travelers. Covid tests are still being developed as they are not as precise as we think.

  18. And that is why I hate “influencers”. They become company speaker for the company that hired them, while pretending they are reviewing something for us.

  19. My big question is how did the infected individual(s) not show up as a positive prior to embarkation? A test before leaving home, another before boarding. Were the tests unreliable? I know rapid tests have less reliability than the regular ones, and there is always a risk to catch the virus after taking a test. Like the old fashioned phone book, it is old news as soon as you walk out the door.

    It’s difficult to maintain social distancing on a cruise ship, and the way air conditioning is operating on ships is great for spreading virus all over.

    I’m not saying the anti-maskers are right, but I do understand why they don’t want to wear a mask everywhere. I would not go on a cruise during this time, masked or not. With the current infection numbers it makes total sense to wear a mask in confined spaces.

  20. @Andreas How there testing worked was that you needed a test before getting to Barbados. Within 72 hours of arrival. Then after arriving you could go directly to the ship and be tested before getting on the ship via a rapid test.
    The virus has a incubation period of a couple of days. This allow for a situation that you have you test at home your negative, you make the trip to Barbados and catch the virus (in the airport, plane, transit or some hotel) and the rapid test shows negative because the viral load isn’t high enough. Then couple of days into the cruise you start showing symptoms and your positive. Everyone else cruise is ruined.
    As Lucky said cruises have a hard problem here. Nobody wants to quarantine before getting on board, small spaces for a long time period, not wearing masks in this situation.

  21. I’m glad people are starting to wake up to the fact that all the testing is bullshit. Just ask Elon Musk – four tests in one day, same test, same nurse, same equipment – 2 positives, 2 negatives, follow the money.

  22. I don’t see this as a disaster for the cruise industry. Instead, I see this as a shining example of a shyster peddling garbage safety “protocols” to entitled anti-maskers who got exactly what scientists have predicted they’d get. Reputable cruise lines are very clear-eyed about the challenges their industry faces, and are taking measurable steps to address them. This is a teachable moment to all about the importance of wearing masks, and how viruses don’t care about privilege.

  23. Could those guys kiss-up to SeaDream any more nauseatingly? (“PLEASE, SeaDream, let us take *another* free cruise when this Covid thing is over!”)

    I love traveling on ships (my husband and I met during a transatlantic crossing 36 years ago), but it is simply not safe right now. People need to recognize the situation our world is in and just Do The Right Thing: STAY HOME!

  24. There is nothing surprising, nor scandalous about this. We’re in a pandemic, so it’s natural that Covid will appear in most enviroments. Ships are no different than land. Take basic precautions, avoid contact with others and the rest is destiny.

    I myself took a one-night mini cruise yesterday (out of SE) and I was happy with the precautions taken – we were reminded to keep distance and there were hand sanitisers for situations when it’s not possible to wash hands. There was plenty of space and we always found a table with a distance from others. Queues weren’t perfect but they rarely took more than two minutes so there wasn’t really enough time to get infected.

    The line I took allows mask or respirator wearing for those who want to protect themselves – I think I saw 3 or 4 passegners who had them. Kitchen staff also wore masks or shields, which seemed a bit excessive but whatever, it didn’t affect me too much.

    Personally, I find regulatory restrictions to be the main reason against crusing these days. Otherwise I’d be happy to take longer sailings any time.

    Overall great experience.

  25. “That’s not true at all. They didn’t go into lockdowns and close everything like other places, but people in those countries absolutely wear masks and are quite responsible about it.”
    Yes, it is true. I’m in Sweden right now, virtually no one wears a mask. Maybe 1% of people. It seems the same in Estonia, I know few people over there and their social media pictures are completely mask-free, even when in crowded setting. In neither SE, nor EE are masks recommended.

    I can’t comment on FI though, situation may be different over there.

  26. The entire world could have seen this coming months in advance and zero people would be surprised.

    Gambling with an outbreak, subjecting yourself to 3-4-5 tests or whatever, risking getting locked in your (small) room for a week…just to sit by a (small) pool with an umbrella drink for a few days; I’ll never understand it.

    I legitimately don’t understand why the cruise lines, the passengers, or travel companies/media are so obsessed with cruises and rushing to get them back out. They are incubators of disease, and the entire world even saw a spectacular COVID-specific case earlier this year.

    These people are treating cruising like it’s a heroin withdrawal. It’s the most unnecessary thing anyone can do. I’ll never get it. Everybody on board, including the TPG writer, got what they deserved.

    This coming from someone who lived/studied on a cruise ship for 3 1/2 months and went around the world. I don’t hate cruising. But if Bob and Sandra from Orlando can’t control themselves for another 6 months, they have bigger issues that need taken care of.

    Good grief.

  27. For for the anti-maskers:
    Rachel Maddow recently showed case data from two different states that compared number of cases over time for counties with mask mandates vs counties without. In both states case rates were much flatter for the counties with mandates. Seems like good practical real world evidence that masks do make a difference.

  28. @Iolaire McFadden, assuming “Ben & David” were traveling together, there’s at least 3 media members that are onboard.

    As for the increased cruise coverage, TPG hired (Gene) their cruise guy in January. That started their increased cruise coverage. The fact that it happened just before COVID is coincidence.

  29. Selfishly im somewhat glad this is happening to Seadream, i have been on two of their cruises and its the best kept secret in travel, there is more staff than passengers, you step on board and everyone already knows your name and addresses you by name from the first second you step on board till you get off. Their motto its not cruising its yachting is true. Last thing i want is for the bloggers and points enthusiasts making this popular driving up the popularity and watering down the experience. I will be back on board with them asap once the world realizes this is not deadly and a vaccine is available.

  30. Is anyone actually even remotely ill? Did anyone need to be hospitalized? There is simply no context here other then a positive test, which clinically is utterly meaningless.

  31. Gene also wrote in the articles that he is a guess of Seadream (because you know, TPG never accepts free travel and pays for everything…).

    It’s completely insane to me that people would voluntarily get on a cruise ship at the moment when we are reaching again all time highs in the US (and I assume they most or the “guests” slash bloggers were american). So really they get what they deserve here, sorry.

    Also the type of people willing to go on a cruise now (anti maskers or just regular covidiots) is probably the last type of people I’d like to be around and the ones who generally take the least precautions. Kind of the same people who go to amusement parks or to Disney, another company heavily promoted by TPG lately…

  32. The only way this would work is if all passengers were put in an onshore 7 day bubble before getting on the boat.

    As the white house showed, daily tests doesn’t mean everyone won’t get infected.

    Btw, Sweden reported 40 deaths today. Adjusted for population, it’s the equivalent of 1310 deaths in the US

  33. The last line of Gene’s article today (11/13) says, “I was traveling on the ship as a guest of the cruise line.”. I’d love to see the paperwork that is signed regarding this and what coverage is/isn’t allowed. Gene seems like a nice enough guy, but boy it’s pretty clear he’s going easy on the cruise line. The other piece he said was 5 who tested positive were a group traveling together staying in 2 cabins and the other two were a couple, not related to the group.

  34. Just going to throw this out there (and trust me, I really wanted this cruise to go well):

    Now is probably not the best time to spend thousands of $ on a cruise.

    It will be time soon enough, but right now, I think it would be foolish (and perhaps a bit aspirationally delusional).

  35. So…you get a test 3 days before. It comes back negative. You fly to port. Likely cab to a hotel. Do who knows what for a day or 2. Then get to the port and test negative before you board. Great, except what were you exposed to during the days between home and getting to the port?

    Things seem to be going OK with MSC in the Mediterranean so far, but I haven’t done any research on that recently. I suppose you can make some kind of “bubble,” but it’s extremely challenging. And I don’t care how great your protocols are, somebody is going to get on board at some point and wind up with the virus. It’s almost inevitable.

    I’m anxious to see what the major cruise lines come up with in response to the CDC’s latest guidelines, but I think we’re going to be well into 2021 before we do. By then, perhaps a few of us will have received the first vaccines. Personally, I don’t think very many ships set sail from the USA, in the absence of a vaccine.

    I love to cruise. I know I’ll cruise again. But I don’t think it’s going to be anytime soon.

  36. Johan says: “…Sweden and Finland (masks are not worn anywhere)”

    While mask usage in Nordic countries is lower than elsewhere in Europe, isn’t true that “masks are not worn anywhere”. A survey released on Oct. 18, 2020 found that about half of the persons in Finland and a quarter of persons in Sweden report wearing a mask outside their home to protect themselves or others from COVID-19 either ‘Always’, ‘Frequently’ or ‘Sometimes’ (see Statista.com).

  37. Steve_CC says: “I will be back on board with them asap once the world realizes this is not deadly…”

    1,290,653 — Confirmed deaths as of 13 November 2020 09:14 a.m. GMT-6 (WHO Numbers at a glance)

  38. @ Marshall Jackson — +1. Travel brands (especially cruises) need to figure out how to handle the 48 hours when someone is already infectious but not yet testing positive.

  39. @Paul has it right. Testing plus 14 day isolation before boarding would have been ideal. In fact, two tests separated by 3 to 5 days, with the last test immediately before boarding would be ideal. But only when combined with ALL of the other appropriate measures, masks, distancing, hand hygiene, etc. Each piece buys down your overall risk.

    @Al has it wrong. College and pro athletes get tested DAILY. This allows them to be removed from their team before they can infect others. Also, a recent study demonstrated that a significant number of college athletes (in the study) with mild to moderate COVID ended up with inflammation of their heart. It’s probably temporary, but it goes to show that this is no joke, even for young healthy people.

    https://www.startalkradio.net/show/the-science-of-the-covid-bubble/

  40. Ben’s post is right on target on all points. SeaDream management’s behaviour was egregious in not initially requiring mask wearing (which they only did mid-cruise after an outcry of criticism) but aggressively selling these cruises without underlining the risks. TRavel agents that applauded this and may have in turn sold them without warning of the risks put commissions ahead of their clients health. (And the bloggers/vloggers, particularly Ben & David, who gave SeaDream glowing reviews, reporting on but not raising questions about the no mask policy, are shameful). This is not the first time SeaDream acted irresponsibly: They were the first cruise line back in Puerto Rico following the major hurricane and despite all hospitals having no power (and no available beds), no hotel rooms, as all in the few able to operate being occupied by emergency workers, and very limited flights, they would not waive the significant cancellation penalties for passengers booked on their initial eastbound transatlantic cruise. A year or so ago, recognizing the age of their ships, SeaDream promoted a new build, SeaDream III, only to suddenly cancel it without explanation. It should be noted for those onboard confined to their cabins that the ship was built before the balcony era, so they have no opportunity to get fresh air (though apparently they were allowed one hour on deck on the second day of cabin confinement). Another issue, not addressed by the cruise line or bloggers, concerns the training of the onboard doctor: testing aside, if the doctor isn’t well trained and experienced in emergency medicine and or Internal Medicine, both guests and crew are put at additional risk so before booing a cruise public information should include the onboard doctor’s curriculum vitae, including medical school, the country in which they are licensed too practice, experience in terms of affiliations and training at respected hospitals and whether accredited in any medical specialties. And if crew or passengers need to be transported from Barbados to a medical center, like Jackson Memorial in Miami, with most travel insurance not covering COVID-19, who is responsible for the logistics and cost..is it SeaDream or is that person left on their own.

  41. I don’t know why they were trying to have a cruise during a pandemic. Even with testing, these kinds of things are clearly never going to work. Wait just a few more months and people will be receiving the vaccine and hopefully we can start to open up.

    From looking at their twitter feed, the two vloggers keep praising the cruise line every chance they get which is a much.

  42. @Ken Klassen – They may have reported it but there’s no way 25% of Swedes wear masks. In major cities I visited in last couple of weeks it’s no more than 1 or 2%. Virtually no one uses a mask here.

  43. The vloggers were obviously on a free cruise and were not going to say anything bad. Hey, that would mean less future free cruises. Maybe they should be transparent and detail what they’ve been given compared to standard guests. Same as press, all on free cruises.
    It’s a pandemic, didn’t anyone think of that before getting on? Oh wait… it’s a free luxury cruise (and possibly cash incentives), too good to miss and it will make great watching or reading. Always thinking about where the next $ will come from. All these people are in it for the dollar.

  44. The tricky thing is testing everyone. That’s testing the crew,testing the passengers and even testing the people who have part-time dealings on the ship before it leaves port. I’m thinking of the delivery people, the port officials. So, someone unsuspected may have got on the ship for a while delivering something/performing a task and infected others. The paying customers may all be “innocent” and might choose to litigate.

    As for vaccinations. I’m old. So are a lot of people who used to cruise. Pfizer had in the small print of their press release that their vaccine has about half the success rate in us oldies compared to younger people.(about 45% compared to 90% success) What I notice is in vaccine tests that the companies developing them specifically get volunteers in the 20-50 age range. And take on no volunteers with co-morbidities. Again the people who have other health problems were a big cruise market as they could arrive, unpack and enjoy themselves. So, I’m guessing a vaccination still won’t be enough to restart cruising, given the target audience.

    As for Sweden. I still don’t get why some people use each and every topic to tell us about Sweden. I live in a city of 1,2 million people. Here 4 people died of COVID19 related issues since the pandemic started. 4. Not 4 a day. But 4 in total. Sweden looks like a horror story from here. Who would want to go there?

    As for the getting angry at the travel influencers on that cruise. I feel a bit sad about that. I used to love seeing the youtube videos of flight reviews as people were served all sorts of wonderful things. But with travel restrictions and closed borders,some of the travel influencers became irrelevant to me. I discontinued subscribing to some of the website reviewers as it all became more about credit cards, and less about wonderful experiences.

    Anyway, good luck with this website Ben, Tiffany and others who present the stories. But my gut feeling is a lot of people who used to travel are losing appetite for it as we are presented with more probems and less wonderful.

  45. Same goes in Estonia. Very little mask usage in public. I am currently on the Seychelles and no one wears a mask here (only on ferries).

    I personally think people are overly hung up on wearing masks and I would be very careful with statements like state A mandates masks and has lower infection rates than state B (many times I read the statement “listen to the science” there is no such thing as the science and many studies are sadly poorly executed).

    I actually was under the impression that masks are very effective before the pandemic (anyone who has every been to Asia has seen many people wearing masks in public). I wondered why countries were initially hesitant to mandate the use of masks. I researched the topic a bit and the conclusion seems to be: Masks are effective if worn properly. The problem is people don’t wear them properly. Even if they cover nose and mouth tightly (which they don’t for many wearers) most disposable masks use their effectiveness after a few hours of use.

    I’m not saying no one should wear masks (personally I wear a mask, mostly because it is very little afford), but rather that countries (and cruise lines by extension) should adopt sensible mask rules, i.e. make people wear them in tight indoor spaces. Everything else just leads to mask fatigue. If I have to wear my mask outside on a hot summer day, sooner or later many will take their nose out to breath, from there it is only a small step to permanently have ones nose out.

    So given the sentiment in this article that wearing masks might have prevented some of this outbreak: I would be careful with reaching such conclusion. It might have, but there is too little data to make any statement about this.

  46. Ben, you conveniently omitted any reference to SeaDream successfully sailing in Norway this summer. Your use of percentages ignored the fact that they sailed at 50% capacity, making your comparison look much more dramatic. If you included the crew as part of the population, your number diminishes greatly. The midweek testing was included specifically to catch those who may have tested negative upon boarding, but whose symptoms had not yet manifested. They did it the right way. When the positive tests were identified, they ended the cruise. Out of curiosity, where’s your coverage about resorts and all-inclusives? I traveled to Cancun a month ago. Like the cruise line, all of the staff and support personnel (transfer drivers, front desk staff, wait staff, maids, and maintenance workers) were masked. Very few of the guests wore masks and when they did, it was for short periods of time. Lots of people at the beach bar, swim up bars, and the shows. Our temperature was checked, but there was no Covid testing. Quintana Roo mandated a maximum of 30% occupancy at that time; now they’re allowing 60%. There’s no formal illness reporting requirement for resorts so there’s no real point of comparison. Airlines are adding capacity to Mexico because there’s a lot of demand. Those who booked that cruise, and the all-inclusives did so voluntarily and were aware of (and accepted) the risks. The cruise industry is actively engaged in finding a safe way forward. Bottom line, I expected better reporting than Ben provided.

  47. SeaDream Cruise Guests Flown From Barbados to Airports Around the World

    It appears that SeaDream made no arrangements to have the guests who had not yet tested positive for the virus to be isolated and quarantined ashore. Nor has the cruise operator arranged for non-commercial flights. It is questionable whether this company informed any of the airlines and local transportation that there was an outbreak on board their ship and these particular guests had been on the ship.
    SeaDream Yacht Club, meanwhile, continues to refuse to provide information to the public, releasing only a single, misleading press release that only one guest was “assumptively positive” and that “all guests and non-essential crew members are in quarantine in their staterooms in an abundance of caution.”

    https://www.cruiselawnews.com/2020/11/articles/disease/seadream-cruise-guests-flown-from-barbados-to-airports-around-the-world/?fbclid=IwAR10LoaBsksMI9F6mavCPvRGvsgA3DDkcw5E-p2DF59D5w-1qc-y_R2OOvk

  48. The mask requirement or lack there of was not good, but we all know the tests are not fool proof. Look at Elon Musk getting four tests recently. Two negative two positive results.

  49. “an abundance of caution” would have meant the cruise didn’t sail with US passengers. Or if it did, they served the 14 days quarantine prior.

    Just the usual lies spread in marketing to justify a decision, regardless of its merits.

  50. Oh and the video loggers are compromised.

    Not by coronavirus, but by their desire for further freebies, hence the ingratiating platitudes towards Seadream when it absolutely made the wrong decisions.

    There are cruises operating safely and successfully now – and have for months. But you don’t do that by
    1) taking US passengers, and
    2) implementing shoddy health protocols

  51. I applaud the cruise line for their health protocol of requiring covid-19 tests for all passengers upon boarding. I also applaud them for not requiring masks on the ship. I go on vacation for a little escape from the dialy grind. I dont want to be reminded of the shilaack place I just came from.

    If you’re worried about getting covid-19, then go back to your basement.

  52. the choice was not between a cruise with masks or cruise without masks; it was between cruise without masks or no cruise at all. I would never go on a cruise if I have to wear a mask so I choose not to cruise at all.

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