First Caribbean cruise ends early after positive COVID tests

Katie Ramirez
November 14, 2020

The cruise ship with 123 passengers on board and a crew of 85 had docked in the Norwegian harbor of Bodoe but no one could disembark after a former passenger from Denmark tested positive for the coronavirus upon returning home.

A passenger aboard SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream I tested positive for COVID-19 Wednesday after setting off on a seven-day cruise from Barbados on Saturday.

"But it's not a great development for the cruise industry".

Waters around the Caribbean have been largely bereft of cruise ships this year, with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention suspending cruise ship operations at U.S. ports in mid-March.

Royal Caribbean is seeking volunteers for mock voyages.

Guests onboard the 112-passenger ship have publicly reported that the captain took to the ship's public address system on Wednesday to advise that one passenger was feeling unwell and suspected of having COVID-19.

The yacht, which had already been sailing in Europe, was making its first planned sailing from new homeport Barbados. It was not a ship with U.S. sailings in its near future.

Captain Torbjorn Lund said the infected passenger had tested positive on a "preliminary" basis, but had reported feeling ill prior to taking the test.

The rapid spread of the virus prompted the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to impose a no-sail order on United States cruises in mid March for 30 days. The vessel departed Barbados on a 7-day Caribbean cruise on November 7.

Updated CDC guidance shows masks protect the wearer and others
Throughout the pandemic, health experts have recommended the use of face masks to protect oneself from the virus. In a report updated Tuesday, the CDC says that is still the primary intention of wearing masks . "This is good.

The incident marked the first time the cruise line had resumed its voyages since the pandemic began.

According to The Associated Press, the vessel is the SeaDream, which is carrying 53 passengers and 66 crew, with the majority of passengers hailing from the US.

The ship was scheduled to make stops at islands in St Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada.

None of the passengers visited any island towns during the stops nor did they come in contact with locals on the islands, Sloane said. Every passengers had to test negative before boarding the ship-and again once they boarded.

"The US$150 billion cruise industry has been working around-the-clock for months to find safe ways to restart sailings", Sloan said.

Operators must inform volunteers in writing that they are "participating in a simulation of unproven and untested health and safety protocols for purposes of simulating a cruise ship voyage and that sailing during a pandemic is an inherently risky activity", according to the conditional order.

The cruise is the first to take place in the Caribbean, the world's top cruise destination, since pandemic lockdowns were put in place back in March.

He said that everyone was tested multiple times during the trip, and the Hewitt-McDonalds said that there were three PCR rapid testing machines on board that could test nine people per hour.

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