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Four vaccinated, two unvaccinated passengers test positive for COVID on Royal Caribbean ship


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It'd be kinda nice if we kept some sort of summary someplace of the situation for each sailings we've become aware of -- positive tests, any details about the passengers themselves, like vaccination status, age, symptoms if any, whether they were getting off the ship in the next day or two, or if they were B2B, etc.

Because so far it's been rather minimal it seems. If any, just a couple. Mostly always asymptomatic. 

I think the information would be useful to be showing just how much of a mostly non-issue it usually is and to see if over time it stays roughly the same or if there's patterns matching land experiences with COVID cases, etc.

Right now we seem to end up with overzealous thread deletions in some forums (not sure here, but it's really high up on my nerves on Cruise Critic right now, to the point I'm minimizing things I contribute there overall right now) and we just lose the information completely.

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2 hours ago, smokeybandit said:

We were the last ones off the ship. Had a limo van when we expected an ambulance. Driven right to the plane. 

I'll write something up when i get home summarizing the experience 

Thank you for posting and getting the right story!

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Define the "healthy" guest that you won't test. This has been a problem with COVID since day one. Asymptomatic transmission. It's well documented it's happening - we can argue viral load and all that but in the end, the lines have to deal with this. An outbreak is an outbreak and they don't want any of that or have a COVID + disembarked guest be patient zero in a community he passes through that then results in an outbreak.

It seems that for now, they have protocols and plans in place with shore based agencies to take care of business. It's working. I agree there is probably a cost threshold for doing this that a line may not wish to cross. At that point, they'll probably be able to do a risk assessment and determine which ships and itineraries are the most risky and those will be cancelled. 

That is absolutely the worst outcome. I just don't see that happening but I'm a glass half full kind of guy and I'm constantly looking for data that backs up my optimism that cruising has successfully restarted and will continue to expand. There are plenty of pessimists. I'm not one of them.

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(No offense JeffB but I'm writing a JeffB-length post here)

 

It all started Thursday night after the debarkation round of testing. All three in my group were negative, but about 10:30pm got a call from the ship's doctor saying our son was identified as a close contact for a boy in Adventure Ocean who tested positive. We never really asked for details on when or what they defined as a close contact since I figured we'd never get that detail as I'm sure they'd cite privacy. (Adventure Ocean follows strict masking and 6-foot social distancing rules as well as avoiding shared toys/supplies so I really doubt it was a 15 minute close contact, but we know the pressure cruise lines are under.)

The medical staff will only call you with results that late if they're positive (not that that stopped me from waiting up until after midnight for the first one).  The next morning we got a letter saying "dear guest" saying "guest" was quarantined. This step in the process is the one RC needs to work on. The letter didn't specify who (aka, just our son or all 3 of us?) had to quarantine (ended up just being our son) and had no "for more information contact XYZ" info on the letter. While the letter did list all the free services we'd have during quarantine (room service, internet, movies, phone calls) it didn't do a good job of outlining really what to expect. In my comments to RC I'm going to urge they have guest services call those people directly and lay things out for them instead of just a form letter, especially since the letter said staff would check up on us throughout the day and no one really did.  So we called the nurses station for some info, and the doctor called us back saying our son was indeed negative but they (I'm not sure who "they" is but I got the inkling it wasn't solely ship management) wanted another PCR test 24 hours later. Which meant 10:30pm again. 

By afternoon (Friday) we get a call that guest services wanted our passports, vax cards and health insurance info.  We never really got details on who wanted this, but we think it was the Bahamas government.  Because a bit later, the guest services manager called and finally we got a good line of communication going. Despite the negative tests, the Bahamas didn't want to let our son take a commercial flight home since he didn't fulfill the country's unvaccinated quarantine window (14 days, tell me that wouldn't suck). Apparently RC tried to get a waiver for us, but as of later Friday, the guest services guy was prepping us for a private flight home.  

The 2nd test Friday night came and went negative (and I'm going to assume all 4 other contacts were negative too, based on a talk with our pilots) and we got one more call from guest services that they'd have updated flight info by 8am this morning.

We got that call and they were still working out the details of the flight, but were prepping for it to be a late afternoon/evening flight and we'd move to the Hilton for a few hours. Somehow that got moved up and by 9am we got our 1pm fllight time and were just instructed to hang out in the room until noon. 

At noon guest services walked us down and we were off the ship.

They had a limo van (aka, party van) for us right off the ship, drove us right to the plane, got on the plane, flew right to our home airport and had the town car waiting for us at the GA terminal to take us home. Apparently whatever deal they had set up required actual door to door delivery, so I got dropped off at the parking lot to get our car, and our wife and son got the town car ride home.

 

So count me as the "I'm not an actor but a true story" for anyone that has concerns about booking a cruise due to fear of being covid-stranded (even if you aren't the one testing positive), RC has you covered.

I can't compliment RC enough for how efficient they were with getting us (and apparently 4 other groups for a total of 20 people in the "contact tracing kid" bucket) out of there and thus avoiding having to stay another 10-11 days for the Bahamas unvaccinated quarantine period.

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29 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

but I can't compliment RC enough for how efficient they were with getting us (and apparently 4 other groups for a total of 20 people in the "contact tracing kid" bucket) out of there and thus avoiding having to stay another 10-11 days for the Bahamas unvaccinated quarantine period.

Wow..effectively door to door service.  I have been trying to follow how different cruise lines have been handling positive cases and it appears the Royal brands have been doing a good job compared to the other lines.

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Thank you for giving all the details of your story.

It definitely is comforting knowing your family was well taken care of. However I worry RC will not offer the same amount of coverage by the time we cruise end of Nov. Seems like all of this must cost them a fortune!

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@smokeybandit Wow - I’m sorry that your vacation had to end this way and I hope you and your family are safe and healthy!

Thank you for sharing your experience.

I hope RC will take your comments seriously about someone from the ship’s management speaking to you instead of just dropping off a form letter. I’m sure your mind was racing a hundred miles a second when you read the letter and I think this kind of situation deserves a personal conversation.

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13 minutes ago, RockerDom31 said:

@smokeybandit Wow - I’m sorry that your vacation had to end this way and I hope you and your family are safe and healthy!

Thank you for sharing your experience.

I hope RC will take your comments seriously about someone from the ship’s management speaking to you instead of just dropping off a form letter. I’m sure your mind was racing a hundred miles a second when you read the letter and I think this kind of situation deserves a personal conversation.

We were told we'd get a follow up call after today about our flight experience so I'll mention it then. I don't know how much traction it'd get in the normal post-cruise survey they send out.

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23 minutes ago, smokeybandit said:

RC probably shelled out upwards of a half million today.

Would be great if you're able to get your feedback to the right levels.   Hopefully - some of the buzz will reach them.  Valuable experience and great to have 1st hand experience shared in this forum.  RCL did a first rate job.. 

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Wow, I guess my reply wasn't liked... I'm not sure why anything that is critical of the way things are unfolding is getting deleted. This is directly relevant to cruising, and a huge area of uncertainty as the rest of us continue to consider booking.

I consider the idea that an unvaccinated child, who is a loosely defined close contact but otherwise healthy, at low risk, and *PCR negative*, could trigger a response like this to be absolute overkill and will prompt me to cancel our remaining cruises for 2021 if it remains business as usual. I also question how it can possibly remain business as usual, and wonder if guests will eventually be left to take the 14 day quarantine period in a foreign country on their own. 

Moreover, I hold we need to begin mentally preparing ourselves for the long view where we treat people as healthy unless they, well... Need medical intervention. The current protocol *are not working* if this is the end result.

 

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27 minutes ago, LizzyBee23 said:

Wow, I guess my reply wasn't liked... I'm not sure why anything that is critical of the way things are unfolding is getting deleted. This is directly relevant to cruising, and a huge area of uncertainty as the rest of us continue to consider booking.

I consider the idea that an unvaccinated child, who is a loosely defined close contact but otherwise healthy, at low risk, and *PCR negative*, could trigger a response like this to be absolute overkill and will prompt me to cancel our remaining cruises for 2021 if it remains business as usual. I also question how it can possibly remain business as usual, and wonder if guests will eventually be left to take the 14 day quarantine period in a foreign country on their own. 

Moreover, I hold we need to begin mentally preparing ourselves for the long view where we treat people as healthy unless they, well... Need medical intervention. The current protocol *are not working* if this is the end result.

 

Keep in mind that this cruise started and ended in a foreign country where the vaccine is not as available as in the US.  The steps taken were in keeping with their laws.  The results may have been very different has the cruise left from the US.

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1 hour ago, smokeybandit said:

RC probably shelled out upwards of a half million today.

Divide by 5, and I'd still think it was an over-estimate. You know they have some deal involving that aircraft service. And a LearJet can be had one-off for about $3500 to $4000/flying hour.

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16 minutes ago, dswallow said:

Divide by 5, and I'd still think it was an over-estimate. You know they have some deal involving that aircraft service. And a LearJet can be had one-off for about $3500 to $4000/flying hour.

These all technically were medivac flights though. I figure that adds some extra expense.

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9 hours ago, LizzyBee23 said:

 

I consider the idea that an unvaccinated child, who is a loosely defined close contact but otherwise healthy, at low risk, and *PCR negative*, could trigger a response like this to be absolute overkill 

 

100% correct

I mean why should we worry about or test children or healthy looking people just to see if they have the virus but are not showing any symptoms!  its not as if a healthy person or child carrying any virus  can pass it on to others who may not be vaccinated! 

Yes the above is sarcasm!!!!! 

Also if some are not being tested then those that are would probably complain, say they are being victimised and contact their lawyers 

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1 hour ago, Ray said:

100% correct

I mean why should we worry about or test children or healthy looking people just to see if they have the virus but are not showing any symptoms!  its not as if a healthy person or child carrying any virus  can pass it on to others who may not be vaccinated! 

Yes the above is sarcasm!!!!! 

Also if some are not being tested then those that are would probably complain, say they are being victimised and contact their lawyers 

We now have evidence that vaccines don't stop transmission by enough to get rid of COVID. In light of that, I do not understand how anyone can support a notional return to sailing that includes testing healthy people (vaccinated or otherwise). If you hold that passengers present a health risk to the ports they visit (which may be true), then we shouldn't be visiting those ports without rigorous PCR testing regardless of vaccination status. Otherwise testing like this offers a sense of security where there is none, and comes at a high cost.

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