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COVID-19 outbreak hits passengers, crew on Carnival cruise ship

The ship has 2,497 passengers and 1,112 crew members and was scheduled to return to Miami on Sunday following an 8-day cruise.

MIAMI — A COVID-19 outbreak has taken place on a South Florida-based cruise ship for the third time this week.

At the same time, the number of coronavirus cases in Florida has hit its highest level since the start of the pandemic.

The ship left Miami on Dec. 18. Carnival said in a statement Friday that an undisclosed number of passengers and crew aboard the Carnival Freedom cruise caught the virus so the ship was denied entry to Bonaire and Aruba.

The cruise ship stopped in the Dominican Republic on Dec. 24. Ashley Peterson used Twitter to vent about her experience on the ship, CBS News reports.

“People have spent thousands of dollars on this cruise and picked this cruise for the ports. Now on an 8 day cruise we will have only gone to 1 place on a delayed schedule,” Peterson wrote.

The cruise ship’s captain sent passengers an apologetic letter gifting them with a $100 credit per room and a free game of Bingo. Peterson did not believe that was enough compensation calling it "laughable" in another tweet.

“The rapid spread of the Omicron variant impacts how destinations are responding to even a small number of cases,” the captain of the ship wrote in the Dec. 22 letter.

The ship has 2,497 passengers and 1,112 crew members and was scheduled to return to Miami on Sunday following an 8-day cruise. Passengers were required to be vaccinated and they were tested before leaving last Saturday.

The Carnival Freedom cruise was the third outbreak this week. Other cruise ships operated by Carnival and Royal Caribbean departing Miami and Ft. Lauderdale were affected.

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