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Cruise Ship Passengers Are Testing Positive For COVID On The First Caribbean Voyage Since Lockdown (UPDATED)

The cruise ship industry has been absolutely rocked by the COVID-19 pandemic. Many of the earliest headlines surrounding the rapid spread of the virus involved outbreaks that occurred on cruise ships, and it’s been a struggle for the industry to envision how to safely take to the water again. SeaDream Yacht Club thought they had figured it out, but it seems that four days into the SeaDream1’s seven-day voyage into the Caribbean, the ship was brought to a halt after a passenger tested positive for COVID-19.

According to Gene Sloan, a cruise writer for The Points Guy, who has been stuck in quarantine on the SeaDream1, the ship is currently docked in Barbados with 53 passengers on board and 66 crew members. Currently, the ship’s passengers are isolated in their rooms, receiving meals ordered from menus slipped under their doors and delivered by mask-wearing crew members.

Speaking to NBC’s Today, Sloan explained that the cruise required a “rigorous” testing system prior to the voyage and that each passenger was tested before arriving in Barbados, where the ship was docked, and again at the pier before boarding. Every passenger tested negative on both occasions according to Sloan, and passengers did not interact with locals during any of their stops — being shuttled to empty beaches, instead. Before the third round of routine tests, a passenger visited the ship’s doctor feeling ill and was diagnosed with COVID-19 on a “preliminary basis” though what that means was not explained to Sloan or the other passengers. Cruise ship passengers were not required to wear masks.

The SeaDream1’s voyage was the first sailing by a cruise ship company since COVID-19 was first declared a pandemic back in March, so it’s not looking good for the cruise ship industry as a whole, as it struggles to figure out how to function amidst a surge in cases.

As frustrating as the situation must be, it seems that Gene Sloan is in good spirits and the crew and captain are keeping the passengers as well taken care of as a ship full of potential COVID-19 carriers could hope to be. At the very least, it’s an improvement over how cruise ships handled the virus back in March.

UPDATE:

As of November 13th, the SeaDream 1 now has six confirmed infected passengers, (five new passengers and the previous presumptive positive). According to Gene Sloan, overnight testing by the Barbados authorities have also found that all crew members are still COVID-19 free, meaning the ship’s passengers are continuing to be well cared for by an uninfected staff, and it doesn’t seem like the virus has continued to spread since passengers have been locked down.

It’s still unclear how the initial passenger came down with COVID-19.

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