A cruise passenger tested positive for COVID-19 on board a SeaDream Yacht Club ship, which set sail for the first time since the pandemic break in the Caribbean.
The passenger on the SeaDream I ship, which left Barbados on Saturday, was confirmed as infected based on the “preliminary” results of a rapid virus test, the ship’s captain, Torbjorn Lund, said on Wednesday. Gene Sloan, an onboard author for the travel website The Points Guy, reported on the ship-wide announcement by the captain.
The ship is said to have 53 passengers. Among them are 37 Americans, all of whom boarded the ship on Saturday, according to a Cruise Critic reporter, Sue Bryant, who was also on the ship.
Among the other passengers were 10 people from the United Kingdom and a number from Austria, Denmark, Germany and Sweden.
According to Lund, the ship with 66 crew members was operated on under the assumption that one or more other COVID-19 patients were on board.
“Please give us a little more time to adjust to this new situation. We have confidence in our routines and medical plans, but they are strict, and we apologize for any inconvenience,” Lund said on Wednesday.
The tests for all crew members were negative as of Wednesday, Lund said.
Sloan tweeted on Thursday: “We have been informed that we will be quarantined in the cabins at least today while the tests for crew and passengers are being conducted. But it is unclear for the time being whether we will be facing a much longer quarantine for all or just some”.
The ship was docked at Union Island at the time of the announcement. It also visited St. Vincent, Canouan and the Tobago Cays, with trips off the coast to empty beaches and no contact with locals during these trips. After the positive test the ship returned to Barbados on Wednesday evening.
Each passenger had to undergo a negative test several days before boarding and on the day of boarding. A third test for all passengers was scheduled for Wednesday.
Passengers had to undergo a virus test at home before departure to Barbados and a negative test within 72 hours of departure. The company’s cruise ship physician also performed a test on all passengers at the dock before they boarded, according to Bryant.
Masks had to be worn onboard the ship starting Monday night, but according to Sloan, they were not required on the first two days of the cruise.
Some crew members were seen without face masks in pictures that Sloan posted on Twitter on Saturday.
Washington Newsday has asked the SeaDream Yacht Club for comments.
We welcome guests on our first 7-day #Caribbean cruise departing from #Barbados. This trip will take us to beautiful beaches while enjoying a safe environment and #SeaDream’s signature service on board. We are proud to be the only line currently operating in the Caribbean! pic.twitter.com/mbe37dnOT5
– SeaDream Yacht Club (@SeaDreamYC) November 7, 2020
In a September statement announcing the start of its Caribbean departures, SeaDream Yacht Club outlined its plan to “deploy three Abbott ID Now test machines that guests will test [for COVID-19]before departure. The goal is to create a COVID-19 negative bubble where guests can relax and enjoy the safety of the vessel.
“In this endeavor, shore excursions in an organized form will also be limited to predefined locations. Guests are asked to observe the guidelines for social distance and to undergo daily temperature checks.
“New on board will be the use of an Altapure ultrasound disinfection system that can kill any COVID-19 virus in the air. This is in addition to the already strict hygiene regulations that SeaDream already applies”.
The final sailing trip follows the summer cruises of the SeaDream Yacht Club in Norway. In September, the company announced that it was able to “successfully implement a comprehensive COVID 19 prevention plan that resulted in zero positive cases throughout the Norwegian summer season”.
In August, a SeaDream I passenger from Denmark tested positive upon returning home after the trip. The passenger showed no symptoms during the cruise.
The company confirmed at that time that it was not aware of any other guests or crew members who were infected or had symptoms.
Live from the first cruise of #Caribbean # since March: @SeaDreamYC #SeaDream1âs hotel manager, the staff gives a warm welcome to the arriving passengers, including champagne and cold towels, while they are enjoying the food and drinks provided by the hotel.