GALVESTON, Texas - A Carnival cruise returned to Galveston as scheduled Saturday after a "small number" of passengers tested positive for COVID-19 mid-week.
"They announced that they identified the close contacts," said Abigail Trout. "So, we didn’t have to worry if we interacted with them or something like that."
Roughly 95 percent of the people on board had been fully vaccinated for COVID-19. However, after the positive COVID-19 cases were identified, everyone on Carnival Vista then had to wear masks inside.
"Masks came back on for everybody, but it was okay," Mariea Shelton. "No smoking in the casino, because you can’t wear a mask and smoke."
It’s unclear if the sick passengers were fully vaccinated and how severe their symptoms were.
"They never told us if someone tested positive we’d have to start wearing masks," said Jason Perry. "They told us [before the cruise], you’re vaccinated you don’t have to wear a masks. [Wearing masks] changed the whole atmosphere of the cruise. It was very upsetting. We tried to make the best of it."
"Some people were really angry about it, some weren’t," said Janice Greer. "Some even flew home from Cozumel."
A spokesperson from Carnival provided the written statement below about the situation.
"Carnival Vista managed a small number of positive COVID cases on the cruise that just returned to Galveston on Saturday despite all our crew and almost all of our guests being vaccinated," said a Carnival spokesperson. "All those who tested positive were placed in isolation. As per our protocols, we tested all unvaccinated guests who debarked the ship this morning and none of our unvaccinated guests tested positive. In addition, we have a process in place to randomly test a large percentage of our crew every day. Carnival is in daily contact with the CDC about the status of all our ships. Carnival Vista is cleared to sail and our onboard protocols meet the CDC guidelines. In addition, starting today, all Carnival ships will ask their guests to wear masks in certain indoor areas as we flex our protocols to adapt to the changing public health situation."
Starting August 14th, Carnival will also require fully vaccinated travelers to test negative for COVID-19 before setting sail. These tests must be taken within 3 days of departure.
Carnival Vista left from Galveston again on Saturday. The cruise will be at sea for another week long trip.
"We didn’t want to have to wear the masks," said Greer. "We got the vaccine so we wouldn’t have to. It is what it is. We still had fun."