Some passengers could be allowed to leave quarantined cruise ship soon

Nov 13, 2020

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Many of the passengers who have been quarantined on a SeaDream Yacht Club vessel in the Caribbean this week due to a COVID outbreak will be allowed to get off the ship on Saturday, the vessel’s captain announced early Friday.

In a shipwide address over the intercom system, SeaDream 1 captain Torbjorn Lund said authorities in Barbados, where the ship currently is docked, had cleared passengers who had repeatedly tested negative for COVID-19 over the past few days to depart the vessel on Saturday for flights back to their home countries.

In a follow-up announcement not long after, Lund suggested that a few passengers who had tested negative might even leave the vessel on Friday.

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The announcement came in the wake of a second round of testing that showed that all but seven passengers on board were negative for COVID-19.

The seven passengers who have tested positive for COVID-19 will remain under quarantine in Barbados. In his second announcement on Friday, Lund suggested that all the passengers who have tested positive had been or soon would be removed from the ship, presumably to a land-based facility.

Five of the seven passengers who have tested positive are part of a family that was traveling together as a group and staying in the same cabins. The other two passengers who have tested positive are a husband-and-wife couple staying in the same cabin.

Related: What it’s like on the first cruise vessel to restart Caribbean trips

SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream 1 anchored in the Grenadines on Monday. (Photo by Gene Sloan/The Points Guy)

All but one of the seven cases were discovered in an initial round of testing. The only additional case to be discovered during the second round of testing was part of the couple. The husband tested positive during the first round of testing, and his wife tested positive during the second round of testing. This was not unexpected as they were sharing the same cabin.   

SeaDream 1 arrived in Barbados around 10:45 p.m. local time on Wednesday after cutting short a seven-night voyage to St. Vincent and the Grenadines, and Grenada, due to what at the time was a single positive COVID test. Health authorities from Barbados boarded it shortly thereafter.

Barbados is the vessel’s home base for the winter season.

There are 53 passengers on the vessel, which is a small, yacht-like ship that normally sails with 112 passengers. There are 66 crew on board.

Related: What safety protocols were like at boarding

All passengers and nonessential crew have been quarantined in their cabins since the first COVID case was discovered early Wednesday.

The list of passengers on SeaDream 1, which just resumed Caribbean sailings on Saturday out of Barbados, includes me. I’ve been on board since Saturday covering this week’s voyage — a watershed moment for the cruise industry.

The sailing was the first by any cruise line in the Caribbean since the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic in March. The Caribbean is the world’s biggest cruise destination, accounting for at least a third of all cruises taken in a normal year, and the cruise industry has been eyeing a restart in the region for many months.

I was traveling on the ship as a guest of the cruise line.

Featured image by Gene Sloan/The Points Guy

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