Super-luxurious cruise ship blocked from 2 ports over Covid outbreak
A Covid outbreak has turned a super-luxury cruise into a true odyssey, with two Caribbean islands blocking the ship from entering its ports, after 55 people on board tested positive.
Royal Caribbean's newest Odyssey of the Seas cruise ship, which departed Florida on December 18 for an eight-night Caribbean trip, briefly returned to the port on Sunday. There, a symptomatic passenger and his close contacts left the ship. However, there were more unforeseen route changes ahead.
On Tuesday the spokesperson of Royal Caribbean told USA Today that during routine weekly testing some fully vaccinated crew members had tested positive.
“Close contacts were quickly identified, and they each immediately went into quarantine,” Lyan Sierra-Caro said, adding that 55 people in total have caught the virus.
Despite this number being relatively small – there are 3,587 passengers and 1,599 crew on board – the outbreak meant that Curacao and Aruba ports, where the ship planned to dock, turned the vessel away.
“The decision was made together with the islands and out of an abundance of caution, due to the current trend of cases in the destination communities and having COVID-19-positive cases on board ... representing 1.1% of the onboard community,” Sierra-Caro said in a statement.
The entertainment schedule on board the ill-fated ship has also changed, Royal Carribbean confirmed, while the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched an investigation.
According to Royal Carribbean, Odyssey of the Seas is the first Quantum Ultra Class cruise ship to sail in the US. It features, among other things, a climbing wall, bumper cars, skydiving tube, surf simulator and an impressive variety of restaurants featuring cuisine from all over the world.
Early in the pandemic, cruise ships experienced major Covid outbreaks, with many vessels being blocked from entering ports.