Just a day after Norwegian Pearl left PortMiami Florida for an 11-day voyage through the Panama Canal, guests were told on Tuesday they would be returning back to Miami because several crew had been infected by COVID.
In a letter from the company to passengers, NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line informed that even though all passengers and crew on the ship had been vaccinated, several crew had tested COVID-positive.
The canceled call ports on the 11-day roundtrip included Cartagena Colombia (Jan 6), Panama Canal (Jan 7), Colon Panama (Jan 7), Puerto Limon Costa Rica (Jan 8), Roatan Island Honduras (Jan 10), Harvest Caye Belize/NCL's private island (Jan 11), Costa Maya Mexico (Jan 12).
On December 30, CDC issued an advisory that travelers should avoid cruises, regardless of vaccination status, due to the surge in outbreaks on cruises since the highly contagious Omicron variant emerged in the United States in late November.
At that time, the CDC said it was monitoring 90+ ships with an unspecified number of COVID cases among passengers and crew. According to CDC, Norwegian Pearl was marked as a yellow level, which means an investigation had started.
Besides the NCL Pearl ship, since December 18th there have been at least 3 other liners operated by CCL-Carnival Cruise Line and RCI-Royal Caribbean that departed PortMiami and Port Everglades/Fort Lauderdale and their voyages were disrupted by the virus.
In addition to returning Norwegian Pearl to Miami by Thursday, NCL officials also alerted travel agents they were canceling a Norwegian Getaway voyage scheduled to leave PortMiami on Wednesday because of “COVID-related circumstances.”
In its letter to passengers about the COVID outbreak, Norwegian officials said:
“As a result, Norwegian Pearl’s January 3rd, 2022 sailing has been canceled and we will be returning to Miami to disembark all guests on Jan. 6, 2022. We sincerely apologize for any inconvenience this may cause, as we understand now, more than ever the desire to travel and reconnect with the places and people we’ve missed most.”
For more Norwegian Pearl incidents and accidents see the ship's CruiseMinus page.