Around 60 of the 92 passengers who traveled on the river cruise ship MS Swiss Crystal from October 10th to 17th have tested positive for COVID-19, according to the German newspaper Blick. Most of the cruise guests came from Switzerland and had sailed on the Swiss Crystal on the Main and the Danube at the beginning of the month. Two-thirds of the guests are reportedly “in isolation or quarantine”. No information is available as to whether the crew members went into isolation or whether the next cruise was affected.
The Swiss Crystal is managed by Scylla AG.
Guests quoted in the newspaper article said they had to wear masks and have their temperatures taken every day. However, they took off their masks to take part in the singing and yodelling during the “music cruise” on the river.
Last week German newspapers reported that at least thirteen (13) people were infected on another river cruise ship, the MS Vista Serenity, on the Moselle in Germany.
This is the third COVID-19 outbreak on a river cruise ship in Europe in the past seven weeks. In early September, eight guests and crew members tested positive for COVID-19 on a CroisiEurope river cruise ship on the Douro River in Portugal. Two French passengers and six crew members on the river cruise ship Vasco da Gama tested positive for the virus.
Most travel writers and cruise bloggers hail European cruise lines as proof that cruising can be done safely despite the coronavirus pandemic. So far, around 165 guests and crew members have been infected with COVID-19 on cruises in Europe, including 74 people who were infected while cruising with Hurtigruten Ships: MS Roald Amundsen (71) and MS Finnmarken (3 with one fatality), 8 people on the Costa Diadema, 8 on the river cruise ship Vasco da Gama, one on the Silversea Silver Spirit, 13 on the river ship Vista Serenity, and now 60 (so far) on the Swiss crystal.
It does not appear that the health protocols for this ship included mandatory testing prior to embarkation, although such testing does not always mean the person is not a carrier of the virus.
This is an especially dangerous time to consider a recreational cruise. The coronavirus is increasing in Europe and the USA. In the last week alone, over 2,800,000 cases of COVID-19 and over 40,000 deaths worldwide have been reported.
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Photo credits: Mitte – ZVG over view.