Marta Lavandier / AP
MIAMI – A COVID-19 outbreak occurred on a South Florida-based cruise ship this week as the number of coronavirus cases in Florida reached its highest level since the pandemic began.
An unknown number of passengers and crew aboard the Carnival Freedom cruise have contracted the virus and the ship has been denied entry to Bonaire and Aruba, Carnival said in a statement.
The ship has 2,497 passengers and 1,112 crew members and was scheduled to return to Miami on Sunday after an 8-day cruise. According to Carnival, passengers had to get vaccinated and were tested before leaving last Saturday.
“Carnival Freedom follows all protocols and has a small number on board that are isolated due to a positive COVID test,” the statement said. “Our protocols anticipate this possibility and we will implement them as needed to protect the health and safety of our guests and crew.”
Ashley Peterson, a passenger on the ship, tweeted a photo of a letter from the ship’s captain dated December 22, apologizing for not being able to stop in Aruba and Bonaire. The letter said passengers would receive $ 100 per room in onboard credit, as well as refunds for scheduled excursions.
It was the third outbreak this week to affect Carnival and Royal Caribbean cruise ships leaving Miami and Fort Lauderdale.
Meanwhile, Florida had 31,758 new COVID-19 cases on Friday, breaking a record for the most cases in a single day since the U.S. pandemic began in March 2020, according to the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
The new record was driven by the spread of the new Omicron variant through the Sunshine State.
The highest number of cases a day earlier was at the height of the Delta Variants wave in Florida last August, when 27,802 cases were reported.