Virgin Islands deny entry of two cruise ships with COVID-19 cases

Dec 28, 2021

Lately, cruise ships often report passengers and crew with COVID infections aboard and they are monitored by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Some of them had passed the allowed threshold of 1% of active cases, they are denied port entry.  According to V.I. Health Commissioner Justa Encarnacion, the Virgin Islands has turned away two cruise ships with COVID infections aboard.

“We actually turned away two cruise ships this weekend, one was 1.2% the other was 1.9%,” Encarnacion said at one point during the briefing.

The names of the ships are the Allure of the Seas and the Norwegian Epic. A memorandum of understanding explains that any ship with COVID positivity rate over 1% will be turned away from the port of call, stated Gov. Albert Bryan Jr. 

“We have an agreement with them, if their numbers cross that threshold there’s no compromise, no conversation, they just can’t come,” Bryan said.

So far, Caribbean islands Aruba, Bonaire, Curaçao have denied entry to cruise ships with active COVID-19 cases. The British Virgin Islands also announced on Sunday it had canceled calls for the Queen Mary, Queen Victoria and Wind Surf due to COVID cases aboard the vessels.

Islands, depending on this tourism as well are sincerely hoping that their partners in the business will find a way to control the spread of COVID-19 on board, that this cooperation will continue without bigger obstacles and the operational pause will not happen again.

“The cruise ships have been shut down for a year and a half, they’ve taken a tremendous hit to their business, they are one of their crucial tourism partners, and I want to make sure we give them a fair shake,” he said. “They are under considerable pressure as it is with the omicron variant. I’m praying for them and hoping they can get their situation under control on board so they don’t have to stop sailing again.”