Royal Caribbean adds Jewel of the Seas to its ‘plague ships’ fleet

Last weekend, Royal Caribbean announced the suspension of the Jewel of the seas. The announcement also referred to the cruise line suspending two other active cruise ships, Symphony of the Seas and Serenade of the Seas. It included a statement that a fourth cruise ship, the Vision of the seas, which does not yet sail on paid cruises with passengers, will not resume cruises with guests for seven weeks. What the company has not announced, but which is becoming blatantly clear, is that Royal Caribbean will continue to use the Vision of the seas as good as Rhapsody of the Seas as floating quarantine hotels / hospitals to accommodate the thousands of crew members who are infected / sick with COVID-19. Read: Vision of the Seas and Rhapsody of the Seas: Royal Caribbean’s “Plague Ships”

Based on the information we received from the crew members of the Vision and Rhapsody, the two cruise ships are now at full capacity with quarantined and sick crew members. Yet every week we see more and more crew members becoming infected with the virus. Royal Caribbean has resolved these issues by deciding that the Jewel of the seas will be used as the third floating quarantine hotel / hospital ship for crew members.

The company has announced internally that “Jewel of the Seas will serve as crew accommodation as we work with our other vessels in service. . . We will have three types of crew aboard the Jewel: (1) a working crew, (2) a quarantine crew, and (3) a COVID positive crew transferred to the Jewel from other ships. “

the Jewel carried out his first pickup of infected crew members during his meeting with the Harmony of the seas early this morning Jewel left Miami and the Harmony from Port Canaveral and met at Royal Caribbean’s private destination at Coco Cay. One crew member placed the number of crew members transferred at 237; another said 241 infected crew members had been transferred.

We reported that when the Jewel Approaching Miami yesterday, there were a total of 163 infected crew members and 10 infected guests. By the time the Jewel arrived at PostMiami, those numbers rose to 183 crew members and 23 guests.

Considering that the Jewel had 183 infected crew members yesterday and recovered at least 237 infected crew members from the Harmony this morning the Royal Caribbean ship now has a total of 420 crew members infected. It is therefore only a matter of time before we learn that the Jewel is at full capacity to accommodate infected and sick crew members.

The question arises as to whether these floating hospitals have adequate medical staff consisting of doctors and nurses. the Vision reportedly only two doctors and four nurses for more than 1,500 to 2,000 infected crew members. It is not known how many doctors or nurses are on board Jewel, but it is doubtful that there are more than two doctors and a few nurses.

The majority of crew members infected on the Vision would be symptomatic with headache, fever, sore throat and fatigue. Fortunately, few of the crew have severe symptoms at this time, but there are cases of shipworkers complaining of shortness of breath and other significant symptoms. There is an obvious concern, with so many thousands of infected crew members and so few medics and nurses on these ships, that employees with more severe symptoms are falling through the cracks.

From what I’ve heard from guests on Royal Caribbean ships and through some of their social media posts, ships nurses seem exhausted from dealing with medical issues related to COVID-19, as this reveals. TikToc post from a guest whose family (wife and child) was infected on Harmony of the seas Last week.

@ cruiseeaveccovid

Royal Carribean Nurse: “We have a lot of patients with worse symptoms than you”…. # cruise #royalcaribbean # deck9 #fyp #quarantine #covid #theroyalcomeback #theRoyalSETBACK #harmonyoftheseas #socialdistancing @royalcaribbean @ cdc.official @cruiseindustrycritic @jimwalker @cruisediva

original sound – CWC

Although I have referred to the Vision and Rhapsody and now the Jsheep as floating “hotels” and “hospitals”, in reality, they are neither. In any case, the crew members do not have the luxury of going for a walk outside the hotel and getting some fresh air. For most crew members, they don’t have balconies that they can open; they have to breathe the same old recycled COVID-19 air inhaled and exhaled by everyone on the lower crew decks. The so-called “floating hospital” is in fact just an ill-equipped “walk-in” clinic at sea, with an insufficient number of ship doctors and nurses.

Clearly, Royal Caribbean should quickly transport its infected ship employees to shore and pay to stay in hotels for recovery, in accordance with basic maritime law and “maintenance and treatment” doctrine requirements. Keeping infected and often ill crew members stranded on ships at sea should be a nuisance for the cruise line. Carnival does the same by using some of its older cruise ships, like the Carnival ecstasy and Carnival sensation, as floating quarantine and medical facilities. However, for those types of businesses driven more by money than the health and safety of their crew, this seems to be the status quo.

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Image credit: Top – Jewel of the seas – Dave souza – CC BY-SA 2.5 commons / wikimedia.org; Lindsay Ratliff -TikToc video – Royal Carribean Nurse: “We have many, many patients with worse symptoms than you” (see @cruisingwithcovid); Twitter images – respective Twitter users.