A Carnival Cruise Line (CCL) ship has docked in Seattle with more than 100 people on board infected with COVID-19.
Passengers told KING-5, an NBC affiliate in Seattle, that the cruise ship was “overwhelmed” by the number of COVID cases. Carnival has not confirmed exactly how many people have tested positive for the virus, saying only that there were multiple positive cases, the news outlet said.
According to KING-5, several people are in hotels throughout the Seattle area, quarantining after testing positive or having been exposed to someone with the virus.
Passenger Darren Sieferston, who is quarantining in a hotel after testing positive for COVID-19 while on the cruise ship, told KING-5, “As soon as I was diagnosed with COVID, I didn’t feel safe.”
He went on to say that the experience on board was chaotic. “They didn’t have enough staff to handle the emergency that was going on, period. They were overwhelmed and did not have a backup course on how to handle some 200 people affected by COVID. We all suffer.”
Other guests felt the same.
Walter Babij, who was also a passenger on the ship, told the media outlet: “I think they were not prepared. I think they were understaffed. I think they were overwhelmed. I don’t think they had clear guidance on how to handle this.”
Passengers complained about long waits for meals, not being able to reach medical staff and not being properly isolated, KING-5 said.
Other issues aboard the ship included a public listing of the names and room numbers of people who have tested positive for the virus, which Sieferston called an invasion of privacy.
“It’s just unacceptable,” he said.
Carnival told KING-5 that there were no serious health problems aboard the ship during the 16-day voyage to the Panama Canal and most passengers were asymptomatic. She also said that all health and safety protocols, including vaccination requirements and pre-cruise COVID testing for all guests, were closely followed.
In a statement to the news outlet, Carnival said:
Our protocols are designed to be relaxed as needed and additional measures have been put in place during travel, including mask requirements for passengers.
Additionally, all guests who were scheduled to continue on the ship’s next cruise to Alaska were tested and all guests who tested positive were disembarked.
Carnival provided transportation and lodging support for guests who needed to quarantine per CDC guidelines. The ship departed on its next cruise on Tuesday afternoon as scheduled.
The Carnival ship’s next voyage is to Alaska.
As of pre-market hours on Thursday, Carnival shares were trading at $17.46, down 27 cents or 1.52%.
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