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Norwegian Cruise Ship Reports a 10-Person COVID Outbreak

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Published Dec 5, 2021 5:59 PM by The Maritime Executive

[Brief] The North American cruise industry has has considerable success in keeping COVID-19 off its vessels since cruising first restarted in June, but on Saturday, the City of New Orleans reported a rare exception: a small outbreak of 10 cases aboard the cruise ship Norwegian Breakaway, which has just wrapped up a 7-day voyage in the Caribbean. 

All of the affected individuals are fully vaccinated and none have shown any symptoms of the disease, the cruise line said in a statement. Norwegian operates only 100-percent-vaccinated cruises.

A passenger aboard the vessel told CNN that all on board were given a COVID-19 test on Saturday, before returning to port at New Orleans. He said that the ship did not announce the discovery of positive cases before the City of New Orleans released its own announcement, and onboard public spaces and attractions remained open Saturday night. 

The Breakaway returned to port in New Orleans on Sunday, and all 3,200 passengers were provided with a COVID-19 test. Those who test positive will be advised to drive home in their own vehicle or self-isolate in local housing provided by the cruise line.

"The Louisiana Department of Health, the City of New Orleans and the Port of New Orleans are aware and working closely with the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to initiate existing COVID-19 agreements and protocols with the cruise line," the city said in a statement. 

The outbreak has not altered plans for the ship's next sailing, according to Norwegian.