SeaDream Yacht Club cuts short first Caribbean cruise after passenger tests positive for COVID-19
Cruise Lines International Association, which represents 95% of the cruise industry, introduced mandatory requirements to be able to set sail again. USA TODAY
SeaDream Yacht Club is heading back to Barbados after a passenger tested positive for COVID-19.
The ship, SeaDream I, was on its first Caribbean cruise since the pandemic caused sailing to cease in March. The line had already had a successful transatlantic sailing, picking up passengers from Oslo, Rotterdam, the U.K., and Madeira, Portugal.
Passengers on the current cruise had boarded the ship on Saturday. The ship had already called at St Vincent, Canouan, the Tobago Cays and Union Island, with trips ashore to empty beaches and for snorkelling in a carefully orchestrated bubble, with no contact allowed with local people.
Passengers were required to take a COVID-19 test at 真人百家家乐官网网站home before flying to the island and test negative within 72 hours of travel. They then were given another PCR test by the cruise line's ship doctor at the dock before boarding.
The ship currently has 53 passengers onboard and 66 crew, said freelance writer Sue Bryant who is covering the the sailing for Cruise Critic.
The is a mix of nationalities on board, including passengers from Austria, Denmark, Germany and Sweden. Ten people are from the United Kingdom; six of those had been on the previous crossing, Bryant said. There are 37 Americans, all of whom embarked the ship in Barbados Saturday.
Passengers took another test Wednesday, as per Barbados protocols to take a test several days into the sailing. The passenger who tested positive asked for an additional test as they were feeling ill.
All passengers are now being asked to isolate in their cabins, according to Bryant. She sent a message via WhatsApp, telling us about the positive test.
"At the moment, we don’t know what to expect," she wrote. "Meals are being served in the cabins and we should be in Barbados later today.
"The ship’s doctor is testing everybody as we sail. We are all hoping the test was a false positive but what will happen when we reach Barbados, of whether we will all have to isolate there, nobody knows."She added: "Until now, we have felt completely safe."
A letter delivered to the passengers' cabins outlined how meal service would run as they are confined. Menus are placed under the door and passengers check off what they want before slipping them back. Crew will deliver the meals while protected.
The line instituted a bevy of health protocols onboard before it resumed sailing, and still other requirements were put in place by Barbados.
Testing aside, social distancing is required and tables, chairs, loungers and bar stools are separated. The gym has been open but you have to book your slot in advance. Hand sanitiser is everywhere. Temperatures are checked daily and cabins sanitised with UV light every day.
In a controversial decision that might actually keep cases down, SeaDream Yacht Club began requiring passengers and crew to wear masks only on Monday night. Previously, the line had not required masks, because of the frequent testing protocols.
Passengers are quarantined in their cabin while the ship heads back to Barbados. Once it gets there, it's likely that the island's public health agency will take control of the situation, with retests and possible quarantine.
It's not the first time that SeaDream has had a COVID scare onboard. In Norway, the line had to quarantine its ship after a passenger from a previous cruise tested positive. None of the subsequent passengers ended up getting the virus, and the line finished a successful season in Scandinavia.
This is a developing story.
More from Cruise Critic:
- Vaccine hope spurs cruise line excitement, requirement worries
- What it's like to be a passenger on the only transatlantic cruise sailing
- Viking Cruises introduces world's first PCR testing laboratory at sea