First Cruise Ship To Return To Caribbean Sees Passenger Test Positive For COVID-19

Maria Goncalves

A passenger aboard the first cruise ship to return to sailing in the Caribbean has tested positive for the coronavirus.

According to a People Magazine report, a traveler aboard the SeaDream Yacht Club ship SeaDream 1 received a "preliminary" COVID-19 test with a positive result after reportedly not feeling well. All of the passengers aboard the cruise ship had already been tested for the virus several days before the trip, were tested again on the day of departure, and once again days after boarding.

SeaDream 1 was the first vessel of its kind to resume sailing in the Caribbean since the beginning of the pandemic. It departed from a Barbados port on Saturday, carrying 66 crew members and 53 passengers. Per CNN, the story first broke when a reporter from travel website The Points Guy, Gene Sloan, wrote about the scary scenario. Ironically enough, Sloan was aboard the ship to document the new safety features of the cruise ship.

Fellow passengers learned about the test results from the ship's captain, Torbjorn Lund, who announced the news via intercom around lunchtime on Wednesday. He then instructed passengers and all nonessential crew members to head back to their cabins and self-isolate.

Lund said in his announcement that the boat's crew was operating under the assumption that at least one person aboard the vessel tested positive for COVID-19. According to CNN, Sloan said that doctors began testing passengers following the announcement, using rapid testing machines.

"It's not a great development for the cruise industry. I think the hope had been that the rigorous testing that SeaDream was doing would keep COVID off its ship," the travel reporter told CNN.

The cruise ship was anchored off Union Island in the Grenadines when the captain made his announcement and immediately headed back to Barbados, per People. While travelers had already stopped in a number of islands, they were only allowed to visit isolated beaches so as not to come into contact with any locals.

According to a September report from The Inquisitr, the White House blocked a recommendation from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to extended the no-sail order on passenger cruise ships until February next year, essentially allowing cruising to resume earlier.

The SeaDream 1 was the first ship to head back to the Caribbean ever since the cruise industry came to a halt in March due to the novel coronavirus, as countries implemented harsh travel restrictions to try to stop the spread of the disease. At the beginning of the epidemic, several operating cruises became harbors for the new respiratory infection.