Cruises have a long term vision as Omicron grows
All of this should mean bad news for various cruise lines like Carnival (CCL), Disney (DIS), Norwegian (NCLH) and Royal Caribbean (RCL), which have ships in the CDC’s Cruise Ship Color status. In a statement last week, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) criticized the CDC’s move as “particularly confusing” as the total number of cases on ships represented a “thin minority of the total on-board population”. Since new infections show no signs of giving way in the foreseeable future, cruises should be avoided regardless of vaccination status. The CDC raised the travel warning for ships to Level 4 – the highest risk level – amid a surge in coronavirus outbreaks on ocean-going vessels.
âScience doesn’t support the CDC. You’re actually safer on a cruise ship, âStewart Chiron, a cruise expert, told Yahoo Finance on Monday.
Still, the stocks of all of these companies closed significantly higher on Friday, underscoring the industry’s long-term view of Omicron. The mutation is highly transmissible, but less debilitating, especially in the vaccinated. And despite the disturbing appeal from the CDC, ships continue to sail from ports across the country.
âEveryone is vaccinated, everyone is tested regularly. We’re seeing an increase, which means 90% of these cases lately are crew members, not passengers, âadded Chiron.
He argued that cruises do everything possible to reduce risk, insisting that “it is safer on a cruise ship than at home”.
It is unclear how long the CDC’s travel advice will be in effect, but the agency has issued a Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) that has been extended to January 15.
The story goes on
Cunard Line’s Queen Mary 2 cruise ship owned by Carnival Corporation & plc. will be docked at Brooklyn Cruise Terminal as the variant of Omicron coronavirus spreads in Brooklyn, New York City, USA on December 20, 2021. REUTERS / Andrew Kelly
Omicron explosion on ships
The data paint a different picture, however. In figures provided to Yahoo Finance, the CDC found that between November 30 and December 14, only 162 COVID-19 cases were reported to the agency from cruise lines operating in US waters.
However, between December 15 and December 29, over 5,000 COVID-19 cases were reported from cruise lines – a whopping 31 times the number of cases from the comparable two-week period.
“Unfortunately, a lot of people are not honest about their health,” said Chiron. “And some people think, ‘Well, I’m symptomatic that I can fake myself,’ but they don’t know that your symptoms will only get worse.”
Cruise lines constantly test the crew three to four times a week and are expected to step up the tests over time, he said.
“We also have to take into account that some of those ships numbered 5,000 aren’t even in service yet, and as more ships are added, many of these ships make short cruises, three, four, and five nights.” You’ll be sailing a higher climb “said Chiron.
“The CDC color code is really meaningless because one crew, seven passengers, means you go from green to yellow, so it really doesn’t mean anything,” he added.
People are still calling the travel agent. They still book their cruises through the travel agent; Stewart Chiron, travel expert
Last week, Royal Caribbean reported an increase in people who tested positive, but without a corresponding increase in disease – a sign that the Omicron wave was less severe in terms of medical outcomes.
In addition, none of the Omicron cases were serious or required to be hospitalized, suggesting the guests were vaccinated and had negative tests before boarding the ship.
Since the cruise lines returned in June 2021, Royal Caribbean has carried over a million guests with over 1,700 people who tested positive – a positivity rate of 0.02%, according to the company. The majority of these cases were mild symptoms, with 41 people being hospitalized.
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