COVID-19 cases are not sparing cruise lines as CDC data shows dozens of ships with new cases on board. This comes after the industry was forced to shut down at the start of the pandemic, later welcoming back sailing with regulations.
The CDC data shows through Tuesday there were 86 ships with reported cases of COVID-19 on board. The agency has started an investigation on 38 of those ships and is observing another 48.
The threshold for investigation means cases were reported in at least .1% of passengers or at least one case among crew members. It can also mean a ship didn't submit its daily submission on time.
One Florida-based travel agent says they've seen a demand for cruises since they set sail again, despite the impact of the Omicron variant. Looking down the road, Bob Cook is still seeing traction.
"I've been on seven cruises since June and until December," he said. "They're very good at tracking on the ships, in my opinion. They're very good at isolating if need be. I think there's a lot more behind the story but I think the fact is the numbers are small."
Sen. Richard Blumenthal has called for cruise lines to dock their ships, saying on Twitter "cruises are repeating recent history as petri dishes of COVID infection."
Our warnings have proved sadly prescient & continuously compelling. Time for CDC & cruise lines to protect consumers & again pause—docking their ships. Cruises are repeating recent history as petri dishes of COVID infection. https://t.co/0P7VQNFlpo— Richard Blumenthal (@SenBlumenthal) December 28, 2021
In response, the cruise industry is pointing to protocols they've put in place and vaccination rates. A spokesperson for Cruise Lines International Association maintains cases make up a slim percentage of the total number of passengers on board.
It's important to keep in mind that the CDC doesn't release the total number of COVID-19 cases on these ships, so the exact numbers on board are not always clear.