A measles outbreak on a cruise ship off the island of St. Lucia has led to a quarantine of all passengers onboard. According to St. Lucia’s chief medical officer, Dr. Merlene Fredericks-James, 300 passengers and crew members on the ship are not being permitted to leave the ship until further notice.

At least one female crew member has been confirmed to have a case of measles. The person diagnosed with the measles, as well as other crew and passengers, are “stable” and remain under surveillance by the ship’s doctor. Medical experts say it is likely that other passengers have been exposed to the virus.  The ship’s doctor requested 100 doses of the measles vaccine. Continued surveillance will be necessary, as the incubation period for measles ranges from 10 to 12 days, before symptoms in exposed persons develop.

This report comes at a time when we are experiencing the largest outbreak of measles in a quarter-century. Approximately 700 cases of measles have been reported nationwide. Due to how contagious the disease is and how quickly it can spread on a cruise ship, St. Lucian officials are not taking any chances. To prevent the spread of infection, passengers and crew were not allowed to disembark from the ship. When a contagious illness, such as the measles, is confirmed on a cruise ship, quarantine is a common procedure to contain the illness while treating those who are infected onboard.

Reports indicate that the ship involved is the Freewinds, which is owned and operated by the Church of Scientology. This specific vessel is 440-feet in length and is used by the church as religious retreat. Due to the ship’s size, it can carry several hundred passengers at a time. The Freewinds is based in Curacao, just off of the Venezuelan coast. At one point, the ship was used to carry out humanitarian missions but is now being used for as a spiritual retreat center at sea. Many different religions carry strong positions against vaccinations, although the Church of Scientology officially takes no stance on vaccinations.

Someone who is infected with the measles virus can easily spread it to others who are not vaccinated. Given the fact that cruise ships are enclosed quarters, the spread of a disease can be even quicker. St. Lucian authorities have confirmed that they are working closely with members of the Pan American Health Organization (PAHO) and Caribbean Public Health Agency (CARPHA) on the matter.

Getting sick on a cruise ship can be any passenger’s worst nightmare and understandably so.  Many times, cruise safety tips can help prevent the spread of disease, but sometimes, the spread of illness is unavoidable. According to officials the ship has been under quarantine since Monday morning. Other outbreaks of illness on cruise ships have included the norovirus, while this is one of the first measles outbreaks reported.


If you have been injured on your cruise, on a wet and slippery deck, down a poorly lit staircase or steep gangway, in port on an excursion, or on a tender boat- it is important that you speak as soon as possible with a lawyer who specializes in personal injury claims against cruise lines. Most cruise lines, including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, Celebrity, Norwegian, MSC, Disney, Holland America, Princess, Costa, Regents Seven Seas and Oceania require that claims against them be pursued in a very specific place under very strict deadlines. Failure to comply with each individual cruise lines deadlines can result in a complete loss of any and all legal rights.

Aronfeld Trial Lawyers is a personal injury firm located in Miami, Florida since 1991.  We have fought hard to hold cruise lines accountable when they put their profits ahead of passenger safety.  We are available 24/7 and encourage you to contact us even if you are still on your cruise. The sooner we can begin our investigation and preservation of key evidence, such as the CCTV footage of your trip and fall, slip and fall, assault or other type of injury the more likely we will be able to understand and prove how the incident occurred. Remember, the cruise lines have the most aggressive and well-funded defense lawyers in the world- protecting their profits.  You need an experienced legal advocate in your corner who will fight to obtain the compensation you deserve for lost wages, medical expenses, transportation reimbursement and pain and suffering.  Call us today and speak with a cruise ship claims lawyer about your potential claim- toll free 1-866-597-4529, 305-441-0440, or by email. We are ready to help.