Norwegian Cruise Line Ship That Reported COVID Cases Made Stops in 3 Countries

A Norwegian Cruise Line ship that reported 10 positive COVID-19 cases returned to New Orleans on Sunday after stops in Mexico, Belize, and Honduras in the past week with the infected onboard, the Associated Press reported.

The Louisiana Department of Health said in a Saturday news release that the cruise ship Breakaway had stopped in the three countries before returning to New Orleans, adding to fears of a possible outbreak among not only those on the ship but also those on land they came in contact with.

According to Louisiana state health officials, at least 10 people tested positive on the ship that carried over 3,200 crew members and passengers. All those onboard were required to show proof of vaccination prior to sailing.

Some passengers said they had no idea there were any positive cases during their time on the cruise, according to the AP.

"We didn't hear of this until we kind of heard you talking a second ago. It would have been nice to have known. We would have taken maybe a few more precautions," Don Canole, a passenger from North Carolina, told WVUE-TV after disembarking the boat on Sunday.

WVUE was also told that passengers were tested for the coronavirus on Saturday, and were given take-home rapid COVID-19 tests. Norwegian reported none of those who tested positive were exhibiting symptoms.

For more reporting from the Associated Press, see below.

COVID on cruise ship
A Norwegian Cruise Line Ship that reported 10 positive COVID-19 cases returned to New Orleans Sunday, although the ship had also stopped in Mexico, Belize, and Honduras in the past week with the infected onboard. People pause to look at Norwegian Cruise Line's ship, Norwegian Breakaway, on the Hudson River, in New York, on May 8, 2013. Richard Drew/Associated Press

"We are testing all individuals on Norwegian Breakaway prior to disembarkation, as well as providing post-exposure and quarantine public health guidance by the (U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention)," the company's statement said. "Any guests who have tested positive for COVID-19 will travel by personal vehicle to their personal residence or self-isolate in accommodations provided by the company.

The company said no changes to scheduled future sailings on the Norwegian Breakaway are currently planned, and the ship was scheduled to depart again Sunday evening.

Cruise ships were an early source of outbreaks last year at the start of the coronavirus pandemic as some ships were rejected at ports and passengers were forced into quarantine. The CDC issued a no-sail order in March 2020, prompting a standstill that ended last June as cruise ships began to leave U.S. ports with new health and safety requirements.