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What happens if you have to quarantine on a ship?

A small number of cruisers have been stuck in the unfortunate position of quarantining onboard their ship during the latest wave of Omicron.

The good news is, there has been only been a handful of ships that have had outbreaks.

And because of the cruise lines’ strict health and safety protocols, this is has stopped severe outcomes and the industry has continued to sail overseas. 

But what happens when you have to quarantine on your ship? We give you the run down on

The process

If cases spread across a ship, affected passengers will be notified straight away and potentially asked to stay in their rooms for the time being, or move to a specially allocated part of the ship. This will generally be closer to the ships medical centre incase symptoms or cases escalate.

Depending on the severity of the outbreak and the cruise line’s individual policies, quarantine may only need to last for a few hours or until a negative test is returned, or in worse cases could stretch to a couple of days.

If testing positive you will likely be required to quarantine until there is an opportunity for you to be safely evacuated which will depend on your route and itinerary. 

The quarantine 

Reports of quarantine vary and it will likely be something that comes down to individual cruise lines and ships.

However, most cruise lines will do their best to make you as comfortable as possible with Wi-Fi, streaming, games and more expected to be supplied. 

Services such as pay-per-view and room service may be offered for free and you’ll likely also receive regular check-ins from medical staff to ensure your symptoms are manageable and steady. 

Some who have been unfortunate enough to get stuck in quarantine have even reported receiving visits from entertainment staff and the ship captain.

However, the uglier side to quarantine has also been publicised, with cruise customer Frank Rebelo telling Washington Post of his experience.

“They were like, ‘We’re going to give you the minimum you need to survive’.” 

Mr Rebelo reported he had to order off a menu of turkey sandwich, pizza, burgers and three dessert choices after being quarantining on a ship last December.

However, in the same article, passenger Kelly Araujo who was quarantined on Norwegian Encore had contrasting thoughts, saying she and mother ‘took solace’ in the room service deliveries and was able to order anything available from the dining rooms.

Ms Araujo and her mother had to spend four days inside a windowless room and reported spending most of their time scrolling online, watching TV and napping.

Plan for your quarantine

Keeping in mind the possibility that you could end up room-ridden, you can prepare a little differently for your cruise. Whether that means bringing extra devices, puzzle books and games, entertainment for your kids, necessary items for a project you’ve been working on, or whatever else, it’s the time to be a little extra prepared.

Considering that you may also develop COVID symptoms, it’s a good idea to stock up on basic pain relief, throat soothers, cough medicine and so on, just to make life easier for yourself and have your favourite products and brands on hand, rather than relying on the ships medical supply.

Royal Caribbean Blog has a video on what quarantine might look like and what to expect, available to view on Youtube here.