The first cruise in the Caribbean since March has halted its journey after passengers tested for the coronavirus “returned assumptive positive results” on Wednesday, yachting company SeaDream said in a news release.
The reported outbreak is a major setback for the cruise industry, which has been touting testing as a path to the return to sea.
“Immediately after performing the preliminary rapid Covid test onboard and receiving the assumptive positive results, SeaDream advised local health authorities and set in motion its Covid response protocols to protect guests and crew,” SeaDream said in its statement. “The ship’s medical staff has tested all crew members and all tests have come back negative. SeaDream is currently re-testing all guests.”
SeaDream has not responded to requests for comment on how many confirmed cases there are; 53 passengers and 66 crew are onboard, according to the Points Guy’s Gene Sloan, who is on the ship.
Travel writers and influencers onboard to cover the SeaDream I’s return to the Caribbean were tweeting Wednesday about one positive case and said they were quarantining in their cabins. Sloan tweeted that the ship had not been requiring masks of crew and passengers.
Update: @SeaDreamYC has tightened its mask-wearing rules, with passengers now required to wear a mask on its ships when they can’t social distance from other passengers. The line already has a months-long track record keeping #covid off ships through frequent testing. #SeaDream pic.twitter.com/NrF7cAx4pR— Gene Sloan (@CruiseLog) November 10, 2020
“All guests and non-essential crew members are in quarantine in their staterooms in an abundance of caution,” SeaDream said in its statement. “SeaDream is awaiting authorization from the Barbados government to disembark guests safely.”
The ship had been sailing since Saturday and called to port at private beaches in St. Vincent and the Grenadines since then.
The vessel is not subject to rules by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention banning passenger cruises until further notice because it is not operating in U.S. waters.
The CDC’s new protocols require the major cruise lines to perform mock cruises with volunteer passengers onboard. There is no timeline for that phase, but Royal Caribbean said Thursday it is beginning to gather volunteers. An official Royal Caribbean-made Facebook group dedicated to volunteering for the simulated voyages had gained 17,400 members as of 7:30 p.m. Thursday.