Middle East Cruise News

Royal Caribbean ship Jewel of the Seas gets all clear after Coronavirus scare in Dubai

Jewel of the Seas, which was briefly placed in quarantine in Dubai, has received the all clear from Dubai Health Authority officials after two of her passengers developed Coronavirus symptoms.

Jewel of the Seas was on a 7-night cruise from Dubai on an itinerary that had been amended to remove Muscat as a port of call, but was turned away from Abu Dhabi Tuesday night after two of her passengers became ill.

Jewel of the Seas departed Dubai Tuesday, but was turned away by Abu Dhabi and returned to Dubai Cruise Terminal

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The ship returned to Dubai, but all passengers were informed that they would not be allowed off the ship. Tests were conducted by health officials in Dubai, and the results have come back negative, according to passengers on the ship.

In a video filmed aboard Jewel of the Seas, one of the passengers, Ben, who runs a video blog called Cruising with Ben & David, said that Royal Caribbean was likely to either cancel the remainder of the cruise, or let passengers use the ship as a hotel for the rest of the week.

Cruise Arabia & Africa has reached out to Royal Caribbean to find out what their plans are.

It’s unlikely that the cruise will be allowed to continue. The Coronavirus-scare appears to have prompted a full shut down of all cruise operations from UAE ports.

While heavy restrictions had already been put in place earlier in the week, prompting Celebrity Cruises to cancel the remainder of its 2019/2020 Middle East cruise season, some ships, primarily those homeporting in Dubai with itineraries only visiting UAE ports, appeared to be allowed to continue cruising.

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Now, however, those exemptions appear to have been revoked as MSC Bellissima, AIDAprima and Mein Schiff 5 were both headed back to Dubai early at the time of writing, while Costa Concordia was already alongside.

The UAE has taken wide-ranging steps to contain the spread of COVID-19, the particular strain of Coronavirus that was declared a global pandemic by the WHO on Wednesday night.

Schools have been closed for four weeks, most major events in Dubai and Abu Dhabi have been cancelled, and now the cruise industry has been shut down for the first time ever.

There are concerns about the vulnerability of cruise ships to the virus in particular due to the nature of the way it is spread and its latency period of two weeks, during which people without symptoms can still potentially be contagious.

Diamond Princess made global headline recently when 700 passengers on-board got sick with the virus during a quarantine period on-board off the coast of Japan.

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