Royal Caribbean evacuates ill crew members from two cruise ships

Two of the world’s largest cruise ships have evacuated crew members over respiratory issues against the backdrop of the toll that the coronavirus is taking at sea.

One crew member was medically evacuated from Oasis of the Seas and one from Symphony of the Seas on Monday night, said Melissa Charbonneau, spokeswoman for Royal Caribbean Cruises, which operates both of the megaships. The crew members were removed for observation and treatment of respiratory issues.

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Royal Caribbean was providing no other details about whether the cases were suspected to be the coronavirus or whether other crew had been tested for the virus,  and if so, how many had tested positive.

Symphony of the Seas is one of the world's largest cruise ships.

Both of the massive cruise ships are off the coast of Florida, according to MarineTraffic, which shows ships’ positions. Oasis of the Seas was off Fort Lauderdale while Symphony of the Seas was farther north near Jupiter.

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Royal Caribbean announced March 24 that it was extending its suspension of all sailings until May 11 due to the worldwide crisis. While most ships have already disembarked all their passengers, leaving only crew aboard, it was not immediately known whether that is the case with the Oasis and the Symphony.

At 225,282 tons, Oasis was the lead ship among a class that is among the world’s largest cruise ships. Both ships are among the top five largest in the world, with Symphony of the Seas ranked first. 

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