Carnival cruise passenger dies after testing positive for COVID-19 onboard ship

The Carnival Vista cruise ship.
The Carnival Vista cruise ship.

  • A Carnival cruise passenger died after testing positive for COVID-19 on the Carnival Vista.
  • The passenger was admitted into a hospital in Belize and later evacuated to Oklahoma, where she died.
  • Carnival Cruises reported 27 positive COVID-19 cases for its ship sailing from Galveston, Texas.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

A passenger onboard a Carnival cruise ship tested positive for COVID-19 and later died, The New York Times reported.

Over the course of two weeks in late July and early August, 27 people aboard the Carnival Vista cruise ship – including 26 crew members – were diagnosed with COVID-19, according to the report. This was the highest number of positive cases aboard any cruise ship and the first death since sailing restarted in June, the Times reported.

Marilyn Tackett, a 77-year-old from Oklahoma, tested positive aboard the ship and was admitted into a hospital in Belize, one of the ports on the cruise’s itinerary. There, she was put on a ventilator after having respiratory issues, according to the Times.

On August 6, Tackett was evacuated and arrived at a hospital in Tulsa, Oklahoma, a statement from her family on a crowdfunding page states. At the Tulsa hospital, her condition worsened and she died, says an update on the crowdfunding page from August 15.

“We are very sorry to hear about the death of a guest who sailed on Carnival Vista,” a spokesperson for Carnival Cruise Lines told Insider in a statement. “The guest almost certainly did not contract COVID on our ship, and she was assisted with expert medical care on board and was ultimately evacuated from Belize after we provided a resource to her family.”

Carnival Cruise Lines previously did not require vaccinated passengers to bring a negative COVID-19 test or wear a mask, but the cruise line changed its guidelines following the positive cases.

“Carnival has implemented a suite of protocols that are designed to flex up as needed to adapt to the changing public health situation related to COVID-19,” the cruise line told Insider in a statement. “We meet the standards for a vaccinated cruise as defined by the CDC, with at least 95 percent of our guests and all of our crew being vaccinated.”

The Belize Tourism Board did not immediately respond to Insider’s request for comment.

Tackett’s death occurred shortly before the CDC updated its guidance for cruise travelers. As Insider previously reported, the CDC now recommends that people with “increased risk for severe illness” avoid cruises regardless of their vaccination status.

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Carnival Cruise Lines will only serve bacon to guests on alternate days as it’s struggling with a shortage of the breakfast-buffet staple

The Carnival Vista cruise ship.
The Carnival Vista cruise ship.

  • Carnival Cruise Line is dealing with a bacon shortage on its ships.
  • The company will temporarily only serve bacon every other day on its ships to combat the shortage.
  • “If we serve it every day, we will have run out by the end of the week,” said its brand ambassador.
  • See more stories on Insider’s business page.

Bacon is in short supply on the menus of the world’s biggest cruise company, Carnival Cruise.

In a video posted to Facebook, Carnival’s brand ambassador John Heald said suppliers who service the cruise industry are facing challenges sourcing bacon for their ships.

Due to the shortage, Heald said the cruise line will set up a schedule for when bacon is served to passengers. “We are going to have to temporarily move to an every-other-day schedule for bacon at the Lido buffet,” he said.

He added: “If you see a sign saying ‘Today, we’re not serving bacon, don’t worry, it’s going to be back the next day.”

Bacon – and its potential lack of availability – has made further headlines recently. Earlier this month, some restaurant owners raised fears about how a change in animal-welfare rules taking force next year could make bacon difficult to find and more expensive to buy in California.

At the start of next year, California will enforce a welfare proposition, which was approved by voters in 2018. The Farm Animal Confinement Proposition, or Proposition 12, requires more space for breeding pigs, egg-laying chickens, and veal calves.

The idea is that all of those animals should have sufficient space to stretch out their wings, claws, and paws, as Insider’s Hilary Brueck reported. Welfare campaigners have been pushing for the change for years.

Courts or the state could try and intervene between now and January but if they don’t, California could lose almost all of its pork supply and pork producers will likely face higher costs to regain the market, AP reported.

Bacon costs are already rising. Insider’s Anna Cooban reported in June that it cost 13% more than last year, which is apparently due to supply shortages and rising costs of pig feed.

The cost of bacon rose 1.8% between April and May, according to BLS data, although this was a slower increase than March to April, when bacon prices jumped 3.4%.

Despite a shortage of the popular breakfast item on Carnival’s cruise lines, Heald made it clear that the company won’t be rationing bacon. “We are not going to ration you and say you can only have one piece. But if we serve it every day, we will have run out by the end of the week,” he said.

He also added that the new schedule will not be permanent. “This is not a cutback, this is a genuine problem that we, as a company, are having.”

The bacon shortage will not impact Carnival’s ability to stock other breakfast favorites, Heald said. Items such as ham and sausage will still be in good supply.

The cruise industry recently opened its doors to the public following an almost year-long halt in operations due to the pandemic.

Guests were eager to return to the sea and Carnival said that booking volumes skyrocketed as a result.

In a second-quarter business update, the company said that booking volumes for future cruises were 45% higher than during the first quarter, Insider’s Grace Dean reported. Advance bookings for 2022 were already higher than in 2019, according to the report.

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