Today the Harmony of the Seas finally returned to its home port in Port Canaveral after a disastrous week at sea. Royal Caribbean transferred over a hundred (100) crew members, who tested positive for COVID-19, to the Vision of the Seas which the cruise line is using as a quarantine facility-at-sea and/or floating hospital.
Based on dozens of messages from cruise passengers, around three-hundred (300) guests tested positive for the virus.
We last reported on the Harmony last week that there were nearly fifty (50) crew members who tested positive forr COVID-19 when Royal Caribbean called on port in Roatan, which unlike several Caribbean ports does not have a regulation prohibiting cruise ships from calling at port with 1% or more of its total ship population (guests and crew) positive with COVID-19.
By yesterday morning, we received several emails and Facebook messages that there were many dozens of guests, including their children, who tested positive for the virus. Several people complained on Twitter In addition, many passengers observed over one-hundred crew members transferring with their luggage and personal effects to the Vision of the Seas which Royal Caribbean is using as a floating hotel to quarantine their COVID-19 positive ship employees as well as a floating hospital for crew members requiring medical treatment.
We have heard from crew members on the Jewel of the Seas and the Allure of the Seas which both transferred COVID-19 positive and ill crew members to the Vision of the Seas this past few days. Royal Caribbean is also using the Rhapsody of the Seas as a floating hotel / hospital for ship employees who test positive for the virus or are ill.
The cruise line saves substantial money by housing its positive crew members on its idle ships rather than hotels ashore. Royal Caribbean, which is legally responsible for providing medical treatment to its ill and infected crew, can also save lots of money by keeping the ship employees under the responsibility of its minimally paid ship doctors rather than the more expensive, albeit vastly more competent, educated and experienced care of U.S. physicians.
Similar to the Anthem of the Seas, the Harmony of the Seas also had a largely mask-less super-spreader event as the guests attended a New Year’s Eve sing-a-long.
Royal Caribbean is fortunate that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDD) did not issue a red warning for this ship given the fact that it appears that over 400 passengers and crew have tested positive for COVID-19 so far.