On Saturday, 29 October, one of the world’s largest cruise ships, the Royal Caribbean Ovation of the Seas, made her long-awaited return to Australian waters, docking at Sydney’s Overseas Passenger Terminal.
In addition, this is a significant milestone. It’s a testament to how far we’ve come since the worst of the pandemic and how acclimated we live with the virus, so little uproar is expected.
Several passengers and crew members isolated themselves on Wednesday, according to claims made in New Zealand, the ship’s last stop.
Royal Caribbean informed Cruise Passenger today, “Royal Caribbean can confirm that the incidence of Covid-19 amongst passengers onboard Ovation of the Seas is far below the inaccurate percentages published in the media.”
The ship complied with NSW Health’s mandatory health reporting requirements before arriving in Sydney. All positive cases were isolated in their cabins. Royal Caribbean also said it adheres to tried-and-true practices, which meet or exceed health and safety standards in every region they operate.
On the Covid-19 status, Ovation of the Seas is listed as Tier 2 (risk level 2 or 3) on the NSW Government’s Cruising Rules website. Tier 2 of the grade is Moderate Impact on the Vessel. “There are quite a few instances on board (30-99 positive cases per 1,000 people), and the vessel’s staffing or resources are impaired,” according to the classification. It can, however, safely sustain essential services.”
She has already completed a tour of New Zealand, and despite knowing she had instances of the virus on board, most towns welcome her.
Shopkeepers in Napier welcomed the arrival of Ovation of the Seas. They stated that they were not concerned about the disease spreading. According to Sally Holyer, co-owner of a gift shop in central Napier, the town was humming when the ship arrived. And sales in her shop were outpacing those of the same ship at the same time last year.
“It was amazing to see the town so crowded, people everywhere, the weather was beautiful, and the cash registers were ringing.”
This time, she was unconcerned about the spread of Covid.
“It doesn’t bother me at all; we’ve all been jabbed, we’ve done everything that was asked of us, and we have to live with it.”
In a statement, Bridget Wilson, New Zealand’s National Public Health Service medical officer in Hawke’s Bay, said that officials were informed about the Covid-19 cases. We’re sure that all standards were met earlier this week.
“Before any ship from overseas enters a New Zealand port, the local public health department must be granted pratique [permission].” This requires ship captains to notify the public health agency of any suspected contagious illness on board, such as Covid-19, and to demonstrate that they are taking the proper isolation and quarantine measures.”
“On Sunday, 23 October, the cruise ship “Ovation of the Seas” was granted permission to dock and discharge passengers following Ministry of Health border control regulations.
“After reviewing the isolation and testing processes onboard Ovation of the Seas, we are sure that Covid-19 patients are being isolated adequately and their contacts are being managed following our current domestic settings.”
Ayesha Verral, New Zealand’s Covid-19 response minister, told RNZ that, while there was a risk of community transmission, the balance was correct, and Royal Caribbean handled the problem correctly.
“There will be a risk we must face while our borders are open – both air travel and cruise ships.”
There is Covid transmission across the border, which is part of keeping our borders open. Still, we are not in the scenario of great [er] danger across the border that we were previously because we have a highly vaccinated population.”
The method for managing cruise ships has been thoroughly discussed among health experts. They have developed a process that can be applied and alerts when there are high numbers of Covid cases on board.
Positive cases were told to stay in their cabins for five days and to report back if they still experienced symptoms on days six and seven.