To date, there have been 1,500 confirmed COVID-19 cases from Carnival Cruise Line ships alone. Yes, 1,500 passengers who boarded ships between February and March have now tested posted for the virus and over 30 have now died.
While that number comes from about 7 of the company’s ships, it is still a significant number that the CDC feels could have been avoided. Carnival’s CEO and President Arnold Donald feels that Carnival did all that it could to stop the spread before things got out of control. He also feels that if fingers are going to be pointed at Carnival they should also be pointed at every other state with high numbers.
“Each ship is a mini-city,” Arnold said in a statement. “Carnival’s response shouldn’t be condemned before analyzing what New York did to deal with the crisis, what the vice president’s task force did, what the Italians, Chinese, South Koreans, and Japanese did. We’re a small part of the real story. We’re being pulled along by it.”
According to CDC epidemiologist and cruise ship task force leader Cindy Friendman, Carnival had ample warning to cancel sailing and prevent this issue.
“I have a hard time believing they’re just a victim of happenstance. While it would have been tough to get everyone aboard the ships back to their home ports without infecting more people, several of the plagued Carnival ships didn’t even begin their voyages until well after the company knew it was risky to do so. Nobody should be going on cruise ships during this pandemic, full stop,” she says.
Most of the ships have returned to their respective ports. However, about 3,200 passengers and crew are still out on ships that have not found a port to accept them.
A criminal investigation has been launched against the company by Australian authorities as to whether Princess Cruises, a subsidiary of Carnival, lied to authorities about an outbreak on a ship that docked in Sydney. There have also been dozens of lawsuits filed by passengers on affected ships as well.