Royal Caribbean Group, the second largest cruise company, gave an update this morning on the impact of the Omicron variant on their cruise ships.
Royal Caribbean has carried over 1.1 million guests since resuming cruises in June. Out of the 1.1 million passengers, 1,745 have tested positive for COVID-19, a positivity rate of just 0.02%.
The cruise line said that the vast majority of those 1,745 positive cases had no symptoms or only mild symptoms. 41 guests have needed hospitalization over the past six months.
None of the Omicron cases so far have been severe or needed to be taken to a hospital on any Royal Caribbean Group cruise ships. Royal Caribbean requires just about everyone on board to be vaccinated and to present a negative COVID-19 test to board the ship on embarkation day.
“Omicron is having a big short-term impact on everyone, but many observers see this as a major step towards COVID-19 becoming endemic rather than epidemic,” said Richard Fain, Chairman & CEO. “We don’t like to see even one case, but our experience is a fraction of the comparable statistics of virtually any other comparable location or industry. Few businesses are subject to such intense scrutiny, regulation, and disclosure requirements by so many authorities, and we welcome that scrutiny because of our commitment to safety. We intend to maintain our goal of delivering the safest vacation on land or sea and will constantly adjust our procedures to accomplish this even in the face of Omicron’s amazing transmissibility.”
Royal Caribbean Group’s Chief Medical Officer Dr. Calvin Johnson emphasizes: “The company is navigating through the ever-evolving information on the Omicron variant. Our case count has spiked, but the level of severity is significantly milder. We will remain nimble and in constant contact with health authorities. For example, even before Omicron, we have been giving all our crewmembers booster shots as they became eligible.”
While the Omicron variant has shown to be much more infectious than previous variants, it has also appeared to cause significantly less severe symptoms.
Royal Caribbean Group has a fleet of 60 cruise ships across the following three cruise lines: Royal Caribbean, Celebrity Cruises, and Silversea Cruises. They are also a 50% owner in TUI Cruises and Hapag-Lloyd Cruises.