Third Cruise Ship in a Week Reports COVID-19 Situation in Norway
The third cruise ship in less than a week is now addressing an outbreak of COVID-19. Similar to the situation that Hurtigruten is facing, the SeaDream Yacht Club is reporting that a person tested positive for the virus after disembarking from one of its cruise ships.
After consulting with Norwegian authorities, SeaDream says that its cruise ship the SeaDream I has enacted an isolation protocol for passengers and non-essential crew. The current cruise has been canceled and the ship is returning to port.
According to a written statement issued by SeaDream, it was informed that a guest from Denmark has been diagnosed with COVID-19 after a routine check on arrival in Denmark. The person’s traveling companion however has tested negative. The passenger had disembarked from the SeaDream I traveling from Tromso, Norway on August 2. SeaDream says that it spoke with the person and confirmed that they were not experiencing symptoms of COVID-19 during the cruise.
“We sincerely hope that there is no COVID-19 on board, and we are not aware of any other guests or crew who are infected or have any symptoms, but we are taking all necessary precautions,” SeaDream said in its statement. “All guests and crew were informed, as well as the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and the Norwegian Directorate of Health as soon as we received the information this afternoon.”
According to the advice of NIPH and the Norwegian Directorate of Health, guests and crew are now in quarantine, except for essential crew members needed to operate the SeaDream I. The current cruise has been suspended and the ship is on its way to Bodo, Norway to follow NIPH and the Norwegian Directorate of Health’s guidelines. SeaDream said that it was also contacting the guests who were on board the affected voyage with the person who has now tested positive for the virus.
SeaDream had become the first cruise line to resume service when the SeaDream I sailed from Oslo on June 20. The company announced in May that it would reposition one of its 112-passenger small yacht-like cruise ships to offer cruises sailing around Norway. At first, they planned nine cruises on one ship, but reported that they had such strong demand that they would also bring the sister ship to Norway for 7 and 12-day summer cruises calling only at Norwegian ports.
In announcing this latest outbreak of COVID-19, SeaDream said it has followed all national guidelines, and all crew members were quarantined in hotels for 10 days before boarding the ship. SeaDream stated that it is doing everything to ensure that guests and crew get through this in the best possible way.
Four days ago, Hurtigruten reported a similar situation at the end of a week-long trip on one of its expedition cruise ships. Again, a past passenger who had recently disembarked tested positive for the virus. Since then 36 crew members and five passengers also tested positive for the virus. Many of the passengers from the last cruise are quarantined in the port where they disembarked the ship while Norway is also working to contact all of the passengers that sailed on the ship and complete contract tracing.
The cruise ship Paul Gauguin also reported that it has a case of the virus on board during a cruise in French Polynesia.
These outbreaks of the virus come just as the cruise industry was working to move forward with plans to resume more trips. Norway has already responded by suspending cruising while other cruise ships continue to operate sailing from Germany, France, and Taiwan. The vast majority of cruise ships however remain out of service due to the restrictions on travel during the pandemic.