The first cruise ship to sail with passengers in the Caribbean since the coronavirus shutdown just had a report that one of its passengers tested positive for COVID-19.
Gene Sloan who covers the cruise industry for travel website The Points Guy, is sailing on the SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream 1 and reported that the captain announced shipwide that a passenger had tested positive for the virus on a preliminary basis.
The small SeaDream sailing had only 53 passengers and 63 crew onboard, Sloan said. It had left from its home port of Barbados sailing Saturday and had since visited several islands in St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
All stops, though, only featured excursions to deserted beaches or taking catamarans to snorkelling spots, and no interaction in local towns, Sloan said.
“This is a blow to the cruise industry’s efforts to restart operations in the Caribbean,” said Sloan. “SeaDream’s return to cruising in the Caribbean was a watershed moment for the industry, and many were hoping it would go smoothly.”
Before sailing, Sloan had to test negative for COVID-19 along with all the other passengers within days of boarding, and then also take a test the day of sailing.
A third on-board test was due to be taken Wednesday, but Sloan said the announcement and subsequent action had all passengers quarantining in their cabins as the ship made a return to Barbados.
“The $150 billion cruise industry has been working around-the-clock for months to find safe ways to restart sailings,” Sloan said.
“This small-ship voyage was being closely watched by other cruise lines, cruise fans and the industry’s regulators, and – depending on what happens – this could be yet another disappointing setback for the industry and the millions of vacationers who are looking to return to the sea.”