Passenger tests positive for Covid-19 on First Cruise Ship in Caribbean

A reporter onboard SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream 1 says the ship's captain made the announcement.
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A passenger of the first cruise ship to resume sailing in the Caribbean after the coronavirus pandemic shutdown has reportedly tested positive for Covid-19.

A passenger on SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream 1 has tested positive for the disease on "a preliminary basis," according to a report from the travel website and blog The Points Guy.

The captain of the vessel, Torbjorn Lund, announced in a shipwide intercom address shortly after noon on Wednesday. Lund asked all passengers to return to their cabins, where they would be isolated.

Nonessential crew also would isolate immediately, Gene Sloan, a cruise writer who is on board the ship, wrote in a blog post.

Shares of Norwegian Cruise Lines Holdings  (NCLH) - Get Report, Carnival  (CCL) - Get Report, and Royal Caribbean Group  (RCL) - Get Report were all falling at last check.

There are 53 passengers and 66 crew on board the small, yacht-like vessel, which was anchored off Union Island in the Grenadines at the time the announcement was made.

The news came four days into the ship's seven-day voyage after it left Barbados on Saturday. 

The ship had traveled to Saint Vincent, Canouan Island, Tobago Cays, and Union Island in the Grenadines and was scheduled to end on Nov. 14 but returned to Barbados early.

The sailing was the first in the Caribbean by any cruise vessel since the coronavirus crisis was declared a pandemic in March, the Points Guy reported.

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.

Every SeaDream 1 passenger had to test negative for COVID-19 several days in advance of boarding and again on the day of boarding.

Passengers also did not interact with locals during their stops and were shuttled to empty beaches to either relax or do an excursion.

SeaDream also is requiring social distancing on board SeaDream 1 and, since Monday evening, mask-wearing. The line did not require mask-wearing during the first two days of the voyage.

SeaDream Yacht Club is a private cruise line headquartered in Oslo, Norway. The company did not immediately respond to a request for comment.

The cruise ship industry has been battered by the coronavirus pandemic. Cruise ships were not allowed to sail U.S. waters after the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention issued a no-sail order in March.

Last month, the Centers for Disease Control issued a "Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, which, the agency said “introduces a phased approach for the safe and responsible resumption for passenger cruises."