Carnival cruise ship denied entry to two ports after 'small number' onboard test positive for COVID

The cruise ships "Carnival Sunrise" (L) and "Carnival Vista" (R) part of the Carnival Cruise Line, are seen moored at a quay in the port of Miami, Florida, on December 23, 2020, amid the Coronavirus pandemic. (Photo by Daniel SLIM / AFP) (Photo by DA

Carnival Cruise Lines' Carnival Freedom has been forced to alter its stops in the south Caribbean while still out at sea, after a "small number" of people onboard tested positive for COVID-19, the company says.

"This is a vaccinated cruise, and all guests were also tested before embarkation," Carnival told FOX Business in a statement on Friday. "Unfortunately, Bonaire and Aruba authorities did not permit the ship to call in those ports, but we have confirmed a visit to Amber Cove, [Dominican Republic] today."


For its vaccinated cruises, Carnival requires guests to have received their final dose of a coronavirus vaccine at least 14 days prior to sailing and to provide proof of vaccination. Under CDC guidelines, all vaccinated guests age two and over must also present a negative COVID-19 test taken within two days of boarding. 

Despite the change in course, the cruise line said the Carnival Freedom is still expected to arrive in Miami Sunday as planned.

Carnival did not disclose how many people onboard the Carnival Freedom tested positive, but competitor Royal Caribbean had two coronavirus outbreaks on ships out of South Florida over the past week.

On Thursday, Royal Caribbean's Odyssey of the Seas was denied entry at the ports of Curacao and Aruba after 55 fully-vaccinated passengers and crew tested positive for the virus, representing 1.1% of the people on the ship.

On Saturday, Royal Caribbean's Symphony of the Seas ship had at least 48 passengers and crew — out of a passenger and crew load of more than 6,000 — test positive for COVID-19 when it returned to dock in Miami.

Royal Caribbean requires all passengers age 12 and older to be fully vaccinated two weeks prior to sailing and encourages but does not require boosters. The cruise line's entire cruise ship staff is fully vaccinated and undergoes weekly testing.