By Jack Phillips
A luxury cruise ship with more than 1,000 on board won’t come back to New York City amid COVID-19 concerns.
The Queen Mary 2, the flagship of Cunard Line, is currently anchored outside Barbados and is slated to stay there until Jan. 2, the company told news outlets.
“As a precautionary measure Queen Mary 2 will take on additional manning in essential roles in Barbados prior to the sail back to the UK,” the firm said in a statement, adding that it will not head back to New York City due to the “current international travel situation” relating to COVID-19.
“The trip started out well. The entire ship was tested on our fourth day out of the Brooklyn Red Hook port. As far as we could tell there were five or six cabins affected,” retired architect Sandy Weinberg Benjamin, who is on board the vessel, told Reuters.
According to Cunard Line’s website, all guests on the cruise ship must provide “proof of an approved USA vaccination program” and will have to show a card “showing they have had a full course of an FDA-approved vaccine.”
Queen Mary 2, the only ocean liner from Southampton to New York, left the British port city on Dec. 13 and will sail back to the United Kingdom from Barbados to ensure it reaches Southampton on Jan. 10 as planned.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) confirmed it is monitoring 88 cruise ships for COVID-19, although it did not specify how many cases have been reported, according to data published this week.
Those cruise ships are either being investigated or are under observation, classified under the CDC’s “yellow” level, the agency said.
“Yellow status means the ship has met the threshold for CDC investigation, which includes one of the following criteria” such as “at or above the investigation threshold for crew COVID-19 cases,” at or above the investigation threshold for passenger COVID-19 cases,” or a “state or local health department notified CDC of passenger COVID-19 cases occurring within five days of disembarkation,” the agency said.
Four other ships are classified as “orange,” meaning that a vessel “has reported cases of COVID-19 but is below the threshold for CDC investigation,” according to the CDC.
Currently, no cruise ships are classified under “red,” which means it is “at or above the CDC investigation threshold for passenger and crew COVID-19 cases” and would require “additional public health precautions.”
In recent weeks, several cruise ships have reported COVID-19 outbreaks despite widespread requirements that all eligible passengers and crew having to show proof of vaccination before embarking on the trip.
Over the past weekend, Carnival Cruise Lines’ Carnival Freedom told outlets it has been forced to alter its stops in the south Caribbean after several individuals onboard tested positive for the CCP (Chinese Communist Party) virus.
“This is a vaccinated cruise, and all guests were also tested before embarkation,” Carnival Cruise Lines said on Dec. 24. “Unfortunately, Bonaire and Aruba authorities did not permit the ship to call in those ports, but we have confirmed a visit to Amber Cove, Dominican Republic today.”
The Epoch Times has contacted Cunard Line for comment.
Reuters contributed to this report.