Cruise lines alter sailings due to Omicron impact

Norwegian Cruise Line has cut short a cruise in the US and cancelled another sailing as more cases of Covid-19 have been reported.

Norwegian Pearl (pictured) set off from Miami on January 3 but it is now on its way back to the Florida port because of “several” Covid cases among the crew.

And a Norwegian Getaway cruise that had been scheduled to leave Miami on Wednesday (January 5) has been cancelled because of “Covid-related circumstances”, say reports.

A letter from NCL to Norwegian Pearl passengers, shared by Vici’s Travel in Florida, said most of the cases onboard were asymptomatic and are being monitored a medical team.

“All affected crew and close contacts are currently in isolation,” said the letter.

The ship is due back in Miami on January 6.

Elsewhere, Seatrade Cruise News reported that Regent Seven Seas Cruises’ world voyage is being “significantly altered”. It is due to leave San Francisco on Wednesday.

Meanwhile, cruises will not be operating along the coast of Brazil until January 21 because of the rapid spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

The Independent said the suspension was announced by the federal government after a recommendation from the Brazilian health regulator, which said there had been a “spiralling increase of Covid-19 cases on board ships in recent days.”

Reuters reported that five cruise ships in Brazilian waters have reported 214 cases of Covid-19 among crew and passengers, including two ships that are in quarantine in the port of Santos.

A statement from the Brazilian office of the Cruise Lines International Association (Clia) said the suspension was a voluntary measure to align cruise companies with federal government, the health regulator, states and municipalities.

The Clia statement said no new departures will take place until January 21, but that ongoing cruises will finish their itineraries as planned.

Cruise lines MSC Cruzeiros and Costa Cruzeiros operate in Brazil.

Reports said that Brazilian health authorities inspected MSC Preziosa in Rio de Janeiro and found more than two dozen onboard were infected.

Passengers aboard waited six hours to disembark and the health regulator ordered those who tested positive to quarantine at home or in hotels.

The Brazilian suspension comes after the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommended people avoid cruise travel, regardless of their vaccination status, reflecting the emergence and spread of the Omicron variant of Covid-19.

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