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At least four cruise ships reported Omicron outbreaks on board last week and were turned away from their ports of call as the CDC announced Monday it was investigating reported COVID cases on nearly 70 luxury liners. 

Passengers who were marooned aboard cruise liners on Christmas Day spoke out about a lack of concern from other passengers and a dearth of communication from staff. 

‘It was disgusting,’ said Kimberly Kelley, who was a passenger on Carnival Cruise Line’s Freedom, which returned to port in Miami on Sunday after a ‘small number’ of COVID cases were reported. 

‘We didn’t touch one pool on that ship because everyone’s in there all over each other – no one’s wearing masks, nobody cared,’ Kelley told CNN.  ‘Now I have to worry I’m going to have COVID?’

In hindsight, another passenger on the Freedom liner called cruises the ‘worst kind of travel you can do,’ telling Good Morning America that ‘it’s not safe at all’ and that it was ‘like a petri dish.’

Kimberley Kelley, a Carnival Freedom Cruise Passenger, told ABC News and CNN that 'no one cared' about COVID on her eight-day cruise from Miami. Her cruise liner was turned away from Bonaire and Aruba due to COVID cases onboard, with some passengers finding out from news broadcasts

Kimberley Kelley, a Carnival Freedom Cruise Passenger, told ABC News and CNN that 'no one cared' about COVID on her eight-day cruise from Miami. Her cruise liner was turned away from Bonaire and Aruba due to COVID cases onboard, with some passengers finding out from news broadcasts

Kimberley Kelley, a Carnival Freedom Cruise Passenger, told ABC News and CNN that ‘no one cared’ about COVID on her eight-day cruise from Miami. Her cruise liner was turned away from Bonaire and Aruba due to COVID cases onboard, with some passengers finding out from news broadcasts

Amber Peterson told Good Morning America that her trip with Carnival Cruises was 'like a petri dish' and, in hindsight, 'not safe at all.' She said that staff refused to inform her of why there were delays and itinerary changes to her trip

Amber Peterson told Good Morning America that her trip with Carnival Cruises was 'like a petri dish' and, in hindsight, 'not safe at all.' She said that staff refused to inform her of why there were delays and itinerary changes to her trip

Amber Peterson told Good Morning America that her trip with Carnival Cruises was ‘like a petri dish’ and, in hindsight, ‘not safe at all.’ She said that staff refused to inform her of why there were delays and itinerary changes to her trip 

The Royal Caribbean Cruises Freedom of the Seas ship is pictured  docked before departure at Port Miami in Miami, Florida

The Royal Caribbean Cruises Freedom of the Seas ship is pictured  docked before departure at Port Miami in Miami, Florida

The Royal Caribbean Cruises Freedom of the Seas ship is pictured  docked before departure at Port Miami in Miami, Florida

‘With the high number of COVID cases on board, they’re really not able to contain it being on that small ship,’ Ashley Peterson said on the ABC broadcast.     

After the cruise departed on December 18, a number of passengers who tested positive were immediately isolated, and the voyage was allowed to continue, according to the New York Times

The ship, which can carry nearly 3,000 passengers and 1,150 crew members, was not allowed by local governments to make planned stops on the Caribbean islands of Bonaire and Aruba. Instead, the liner made an ‘alternative visit’ to Amber Cove, Curacao and the Dominican Republic, a company spokesman told the Times. 

‘They didn’t inform us of hardly anything,’ Leah Murray, another passenger on the Freedom, told GMA. ‘We sat there for a couple of hours, and then we found out they wouldn’t let us on our destination because of so many people on the ship were having COVID.’ 

Passengers told news outlets that it was 'like a petri dish' on board their cruise liners, and that there wasn't much room to quarantine in close quarters

Passengers told news outlets that it was 'like a petri dish' on board their cruise liners, and that there wasn't much room to quarantine in close quarters

Passengers told news outlets that it was ‘like a petri dish’ on board their cruise liners, and that there wasn’t much room to quarantine in close quarters

Leah Murray, another passenger on the Carnival Cruise Freedom, said that staff 'didn't inform [her] of hardly anything'

Leah Murray, another passenger on the Carnival Cruise Freedom, said that staff 'didn't inform [her] of hardly anything'

Leah Murray, another passenger on the Carnival Cruise Freedom, said that staff ‘didn’t inform [her] of hardly anything’

The national epidemiologist for Curacao, Dr. Izzy Gerstenbluth, told CNN that he was alerted to the ship’s arrival and the presence of COVID-positive crew members before it docked. Although Gerstenbluth wanted to ‘assess the situation’ once the ship had docked, he said that he was delayed due to an emergency on the island. 

Once he arrived at the ship, Gerstenbluth said he determined that the cases were contained among crew members, and allowed passengers to leave the ship while the crew remained onboard.

But, as the ship bypassed planned stops, Peterson told CNN that cruise line staff refused to explain the delay before passengers were allowed to disembark in Curacao. The next day, she learned that it was caused by COVID infections while watching the news. 

She said passengers weren’t informed of the cases until the ship was denied entry to Bonaire, and that if she had known, she may have taken a flight back to her home in North Carolina.    

The Symphony of the Seas (pictured) departed from Miami on December 11, stopping in St. Maarten and St. Thomas in the Carribbean before visiting Royal Caribbean's private island, CocoCay.

The Symphony of the Seas (pictured) departed from Miami on December 11, stopping in St. Maarten and St. Thomas in the Carribbean before visiting Royal Caribbean's private island, CocoCay.

The Symphony of the Seas (pictured) departed from Miami on December 11, stopping in St. Maarten and St. Thomas in the Carribbean before visiting Royal Caribbean’s private island, CocoCay. 

Passengers who were ultimately quarantined on that ship were relegated to the second deck in rooms without balconies, according to one Twitter user. They were placated with  $76.25 in credits toward a ‘future COVID cruise.’

But passengers on the ship had no idea just how many of their fellow passengers had contracted the virus, with one couple telling CNN ‘we heard five, we heard 12, we heard 25,’ although they ‘had a good time’ on the cruise and ‘would do it again.’

In a statement to Good Morning America, Carnival Cruises said that their COVID protocols were ‘vigorous’ and ‘account[ed] for the possibility of any positive cases on board.’ 

The company also claimed that they ‘made announcements and communicated in writing to passengers on board.’ 

In a statement to CNN, Carnival Cruises said that  ‘the rapid spread of the Omicron variant may shape how some destination authorities view even a small number of cases, even when they are being managed with our vigorous protocols,’ and that ‘some destinations have limited medical resources and are focused on managing their own local response to the variant.’

‘Should it be necessary to cancel a port, we will do our best to find an alternative destination,’ the cruise company said.  

In San Diego, the Holland America Cruise Koningsdam was forced to return to port after local officials turned it away from its planned destination in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico. 

Passengers arrive to board the Celebrity Cruise Edge, Saturday, June 26, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale - the first cruise to leave a U.S. port since the coronavirus pandemic brought the industry to a halt. Since June, 1,300 COVID cases have been reported aboard cruise liners

Passengers arrive to board the Celebrity Cruise Edge, Saturday, June 26, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale - the first cruise to leave a U.S. port since the coronavirus pandemic brought the industry to a halt. Since June, 1,300 COVID cases have been reported aboard cruise liners

Passengers arrive to board the Celebrity Cruise Edge, Saturday, June 26, 2021, in Fort Lauderdale – the first cruise to leave a U.S. port since the coronavirus pandemic brought the industry to a halt. Since June, 1,300 COVID cases have been reported aboard cruise liners

Initially, officials in the Mexican state of Jalisco were going to allow passengers to disembark after testing negative for the virus onboard, but changed their minds, citing the ‘exponential growth of confirmed cases in the crew,’ according to CNN.     

On that ship, 21 crew members tested positive for COVID-19. A spokesperson told ABC News that no guests tested positive, however. 

‘With the pervasive nature of the Omicron variant, we have continued to evolve our protocols, which were developed with guidance from leading health experts and in anticipation of situations like this,’ a spokesperson said.    

One passenger told Good Morning America that the crew kept ‘delaying and delaying and delaying’ in its announcements to passengers. 

‘We had our excursion all planned, we were waiting for about an hour to get off… until the captain got on and said “we’re leaving in about an hour.”‘ 

One passenger (pictured) told Good Morning America that the crew kept 'delaying and delaying and delaying' in its announcements to passengers

One passenger (pictured) told Good Morning America that the crew kept 'delaying and delaying and delaying' in its announcements to passengers

One passenger (pictured) told Good Morning America that the crew kept ‘delaying and delaying and delaying’ in its announcements to passengers

The same ship set sail again for another cruise just hours after it disembarked in San Diego, the outlet reported. 

Officials in Curacao and Aruba also turned away Royal Carribean’s Symphony of the Seas,’ the world’s biggest cruise ship, after 48 people onboard tested positive for COVID, according to the Miami Herald. 

The cruise ship was carrying 6,091 passengers, according to CNN, 95 percent of which were vaccinated.  Of those who tested positive for COVID, 98 percent were reportedly vaccinated.   

The Symphony of the Seas departed from Miami on December 11, stopping in St. Maarten and St. Thomas in the Carribbean before visiting Royal Caribbean’s private island, CocoCay.  

The cruise line said in a statement that six passengers who tested positive were forced to disembark, while other positive travelers got off the ship on December 18, when the 

The cruise line says in its statement that it disembarked six positive cases earlier in the cruise, while the other positive travelers disembarked on December 18, when the week-long voyage came to an end.

‘Each person quickly went into quarantine,’ reads a Royal Caribbean statement on the Symphony of the Seas outbreak. 

‘Everyone who tested positive were asymptomatic or had mild symptoms, and we continuously monitored their health.’ 

In this photo taken on March 07, 2020 a Carnival Panorama cruise ship is seen docked in Long Beach, California on March 7, 2020, as passengers await onboard for the results of a COVID-19 test given to an ill passenger

In this photo taken on March 07, 2020 a Carnival Panorama cruise ship is seen docked in Long Beach, California on March 7, 2020, as passengers await onboard for the results of a COVID-19 test given to an ill passenger

In this photo taken on March 07, 2020 a Carnival Panorama cruise ship is seen docked in Long Beach, California on March 7, 2020, as passengers await onboard for the results of a COVID-19 test given to an ill passenger

On Wednesday, officials in Columbia prevented passengers on the Seven Seas Mariner to disembark in their country after six crew members and one passenger tested positive for COVID. The ship had begun an 18-day trip from Miami to San Francisco on December 18.   

Cruise ship sailing was paused during the outset of the pandemic, but resumed in June of this year – since, more than 1,300 cases of COVID-19 were found on cruise ships, according to the CDC. 

On Monday, the CDC announced that it was investigating 68 cruise liners following COVID outbreaks.  

On its website, the CDC maintains a list of 108 operating cruise liners, categorizing them based on how many cases of COVID-19 have been reported onboard. Passengers on U.S.-based cruise liners must wear masks in public areas and present proof of vaccination.

On its website, the CDC maintains a list of 108 operating cruise liners, categorizing them based on how many cases of COVID-19 have been reported onboard

On its website, the CDC maintains a list of 108 operating cruise liners, categorizing them based on how many cases of COVID-19 have been reported onboard

On its website, the CDC maintains a list of 108 operating cruise liners, categorizing them based on how many cases of COVID-19 have been reported onboard

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Source: dailymail

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