The first cruise to resume sailing in the Caribbean reported a preliminary COVID-19 positive case while in the Grenadines on Wednesday, and five cases have been confirmed on board since then.
CNN is reporting that captain of the cruise ship, SeaDream 1 made the announcement over the ship’s intercom system shortly before lunchtime on Wednesday.
The vessel appears to be the same one that was anchored off Mt Wynne, on St. Vincent’s west coast, earlier this week, while armed police officers from the Rapid Response Unit, a police tactical squad, stood guard on the beach there, apparently to prevent passengers and locals from mingling.
The government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines had earlier this year announced a protocol that would prevent cruise ship passengers and locals from mingling at the nation’s beaches.
SeaDream Yacht Club said in a news release that “guests” have tested positive for the virus, but did not specify the number who had done so.
The news release said that all guests and nonessential crew are quarantining in their rooms.
The ship, which was in the Grenadines at the time of the first preliminary positive test on Wednesday, docked in Barbados that evening.
SeaDream 1 is the first cruise vessel to resume sailing in the Caribbean since the start of the pandemic.
Crew members told passenger Gene Sloan on Thursday that if all other passengers tested negative, they might be able to leave their cabins soon and then disembark from the ship in the coming days.
There are 53 passengers and 66 crew members on board, Sloan said.
Extensive, multilayer testing for COVID-19 has been an integral part of SeaDream’s efforts to create a COVID-19 negative bubble aboard its ships.
Passengers were tested both in advance of traveling to the ship and also before boarding the ship, Sloan told CNN.
That rigor is due in part to the strict testing required by Barbados, where the ship will be based for the season, Sloan noted.
SeaDream’s winter voyages from Barbados started on November 7 with the sailing that has now been cut short.
These new Caribbean sailings follow a successful summer season for SeaDream in Norway, which the company said “resulted in zero positive cases during the entire Norwegian summer season”.