First Caribbean Cruise Suspended due to COVID-19 Scare

first Caribbean cruise has COVID-19 scare
One of the SeaDream cruise ships anchored previously in the Caribbean - SeaDream photo

Published Nov 11, 2020 7:57 PM by The Maritime Executive

The cruise ship SeaDream 1 is experiencing a COVID-19 scare during its first cruise in the Caribbean. The luxury, yacht cruise ship commenced its first Caribbean cruise departing Barbados this weekend only to have the voyage suspended today after an indication that a passenger may have the virus.

The ship’s captain announced that they had a preliminary positive test among one of the 53 passengers aboard the cruise at midday today, according to cruise travel reporter Gene Sloan, who is on the cruise and reporting for The Points Guy website. Sloan said that shortly before lunch the captain asked all passengers to return to their suites and that meals would be served to them there while the ship launched onboard testing for all of the crew and passengers.  As of this evening, Sloan is reporting that the ship completed the tests with Abbott quick test equipment onboard and that everyone is testing negative.

SeaDream Yacht Club operators of the cruise ship had sought to create a COVID bubble for passengers and are following a strict set of health protocols. All passengers had to test negative before boarding flights to Barbados, undergo a second test before boarding the ship, and were scheduled for a third test today midway through the cruise. Crew is also being regularly tested.

Onboard the ship passengers are being asked to maintain social distancing, but Sloan in his first report said the cruise was functioning well with the onboard atmosphere not severely impacted by the new routines. Sloan said passengers had not been asked to wear face coverings at the beginning of the cruise, but that had now been asked to wear coverings.

The cruise line had agreed with the destinations in the Caribbean that passengers would remain separated from the population to reduce the risk of any exposure to the virus. The first cruise was suspended today and the ship is sailing back to Barbados where it is due to arrive this evening. Sloan reports that they will be met by local health officials who they expect will conduct another round of testing for the passengers and crew.

SeaDream 1 yacht at Barbados prior to this week's cruise - image courtesy of SeaDream Yacht Club

The SeaDream Yacht Club successfully resumed cruising from Norway in the summer with its two ships. The company reported a strong response to its program and credited the strict health protocols for a smooth summer season. After one cruise, there was a scare that one former passenger might have had the virus, but that person later tested negative.

The cruise ship after completing its summer cruises, also carried passengers on a trans-Atlantic cruise from Norway with a stop in the UK before reaching the Caribbean. The line plans to operate a total of 22 cruises from Barbados during the winter.