The Miami Herald is reporting Sunday morning that the Royal Caribbean International cruise ship Oasis of the Seas that returned to port in Miami earlier this month had at least 14 crew members who tested positive for the coronavirus, based on an audio recording the newspaper reviewed.
There had not previously been any reports on Royal Caribbean crew stricken with COVID-19 on that ship. The Herald reported that PortMiami records show the Oasis docked at the Miami port the morning of March 24 and unloaded passengers. It left port later that day and is currently anchored in The Bahamas with the crew isolated in cabins there, according to The Herald.
The newspaper cited an audio recording on which the ship’s captain states, “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 company confirmed the substance of the report with a statement, sent to Florida Politics and The Herald, which read, “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.”
As with most cruise lines, Miami-based Royal Caribbean announced March 13 it was suspending cruise operations. However, several ships already were underway at that time the suspension kicked in. The company states that it expects to return to service on May 12 from most ports. Because of announced port closures, the company expects to return to service for Alaska, Canada and New England sailings July 1.
On March 8, the U.S. State Department advised Americans to not take cruises
On March 13, most cruise lines announced they would suspend cruise operations, though numerous ships were at sea, and many of those ships have subsequently encountered both COVID-19 outbreaks and difficulties returning to port anywhere.