14 on Royal Caribbean ship test positive for COVID-19—report

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship.

Fourteen crew members aboard Royal Caribbean’s Oasis of the Seas have tested positive for COVID-19, according to a report in the Miami Herald.

On Saturday (March 28) a crew member aboard the ship recorded the Oasis of the Seas’ captain making an announcement over the P.A. system that 14 people had tested positive.

“At the moment, we have 14 that have test positive for COVID-19 onboard the Oasis of the Seas out of all we have tested,” the captain said in the recording that was obtained by the Miami Herald newspaper.

Royal Caribbean in a statement said: “The health and well-being of our crew is our foremost priority. Crewmembers who exhibited symptoms were evaluated by our medical staff and remain under close supervision. In accordance with our health and safety protocols, our crew have been asked to self-isolate in cabins while we await confirmation of initial results from public health authorities.”

There are more than 1,700 workers and contractors onboard the ship. Although the captain did not say when the positive patients had been tested, the crew member said there were workers with flu-like symptoms aboard the ship before cruises were suspended by Royal Caribbean on March 13.

“It’s a little scary because we didn’t know there were so many cases on the ship,” the crew member said. While the Oasis is currently docked in the Bahamas, it did make port in Miami. Port Miami records show the Oasis docked at the port the morning of March 24 and unloaded passengers. It left port later that day.

The crew member said the ship let crew members leave to go home, but for those whose countries closed their borders they returned. The ship then set out for the Bahamas. The ship is now docked about 15 miles from Great Harbour Cay’s shore in the Bahamas, according to ship tracker websites. The Oasis is docked closely to five other Royal Caribbean ships and two Holland America cruises: the Zuiderdam and Volendam.

The Zaandam, another Holland America cruise ship, has had four passengers die on board and is carrying almost 150 people who are sick with flu-like symptoms. The ship was given permission late Saturday night to pass through the Panama Canal on its way to Port Everglades, where it will unload its increasingly sick passengers and crew.

Workers on the Oasis had suspected there was a positive case onboard but the captain denied it until his announcement on Saturday, the crew member said. The ship is currently under Outbreak Prevention Plan Level 3. The crew member said the ship is scheduled to return to Miami, the cruise’s home port, on March 31. But they are unsure if that schedule will be kept.