BELIZE CITY, Tues. Aug. 17, 2021– Marilyn Tackett, 77, a passenger on a Carnival Vista cruise ship whose passengers recently disembarked in Belize, died on August 14, following her return to the United States. While on the cruise that visited Belize, Tackett had fallen ill, and was diagnosed with COVID-19, and was subsequently admitted to a private hospital in Belize City.
Marilyn Tackett was a retired Sunday school teacher. She, along with her family, embarked on a Carnival Vista cruise trip on July 31, from Galveston, Texas, that stopped at a number of Caribbean ports, including ports in Roatan and Belize.
When the ship was docked at a Roatan port on August 3, Tackett went on an excursion. The very next day, the Carnival ship set sail to Belize. Although she had been vaccinated, Tackett fell ill and refused to go on the Belize excursion. Her children, however, proceeded to disembark in Belize.
Upon their return to the ship, Tackett’s children found that their mother was having difficulty breathing. They contacted the on-ship medical personnel, who administered a COVID-19 test that yielded a positive result. The doctor explained that Tackett’s condition was severe and that she had to be placed on a ventilator. The doctor then made arrangements for Tackett to be transferred to a hospital in Belize.
The private hospital demanded, however, that the family pay $5,000 before Tackett could be admitted. This fee was not covered by Tackett’s insurance company, since her insurance policy did not include International medical care or emergency flights back to the USA. It was not until the family had raised funds (reportedly through a crowd-funding initiative) that Tackett was admitted into an intensive care unit in Belize and placed on a ventilator.
Her granddaughter eventually created a Go Fund Me page for her grandmother — with the hopes of raising $30,000 for Ms. Tackett to be medically evacuated by air to Tulsa, Oklahoma. She was ultimately flown back in an air ambulance and placed on a ventilator until she succumbed to her illness.
This has not been the first incident of death on the Carnival Cruise Line this summer. Reports further revealed that back in June, chief Carnival engineer, Angelo Strano, had died from complications arising from COVID-19.
Tackett had been a passenger on a cruise that preceded the more recent arrival of a Carnival Vista cruise ship on which there were reportedly more than 27 positive cases of COVID-19. That ship was also allowed to dock at Belize’s port. There has been great concern regarding the arrival of the Carnival cruise ships. According to Cruise Law News, Carnival has failed to report its total number of cases, and the greater injustice is that Carnival, by law, is not required to do so.
As a result of these outbreaks, as of August 14, all Carnival passengers are now required to present a negative COVID test in advance of boarding the ship.