Omicron, a new variant of COVID-19, has raised new concerns about outbreaks on cruise ships. Royal Caribbean Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Lines have both canceled their planned trips this week.
Norwegian Cruise Line said that eight of its ships would not be able to sail on upcoming trips. The cruises had start dates that ranged from Wednesday to April 23. There will be full refunds for the people who were affected by the company.
In the beginning, we care about the health and safety of our guests, crew, and the people we visit. Norwegian Cruise Line said in an update on its website that it had to change a few sailings because of restrictions on travel.
Royal Caribbean Cruises had to cancel a “Spectrum of the Seas” trip planned for Thursday because authorities said nine passengers were in close contact with a COVID-19 case in Hong Kong, Reuters said.
At midday on Thursday, the shares of both cruise companies were about where they were at the same time last week.
Norwegian Cruise Lines has canceled eight of its trips because of bad weather. The company said it would give refunds to everyone who was stranded.
Another setback for cruise operators who had to close for months because of the COVID-19 pandemic. The cancellations were another setback for them. The companies have since put in place more health and safety measures to keep passengers safe.
Trips have been going on for the last few days, despite a rise in COVID-19 cases caused by the Omicron variant. It was on Wednesday that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention released information about cruise ships in US waters that were being investigated because of COVID-19 cases, the Washington Post said.
“Avoid cruise travel, even if you have been vaccinated,” the CDC updated its advice on December 30. This is because there is a “very high level of COVID-19” on cruise ships.
After 9 passengers were exposed to COVID, Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines cancelled a future voyage.
An industry trade group at the time, the Cruise Lines International Association, criticised the CDC’s warning.
“The CDC’s decision to raise the cruise travel level is particularly perplexing,” the group said, “considering that cases identified on cruise ships consistently make up a very small minority of the total population onboard—far fewer than on land—and the majority of those cases are asymptomatic or mild in nature, posing little to no burden on medical resources onboard or ashore.”