One of the first cruise ships to sail the Caribbean waters since the novel coronavirus COVID-19 pandemic began ended its trip early on Wednesday after at least 10% of the 53 passengers onboard tested positive for COVID-19.
Sea Dream 1, which is also carrying 66 crew members has now returned to Barbados, where guests remain isolated in their cabin on board Thursday afternoon
The first passenger who tested positive requested for an additional test as they were feeling sick. According to Sue Bryant, a cruise ship reporter who is aboard the ship, “one passenger became sick on Wednesday and forced the ship to turn back to Barbados, where it had departed from on Saturday.” Thereafter, further testing reveal a total of five positive test results within an American group traveling together, including one person with antibodies.
According to its online itinerary, Sea Dream 1 was originally scheduled to return to Barbados on Saturday. The ship had made several stops in St. Vincent and the Grenadines before returning to Barbados. The ship stopped in St Vincent, Canouan, the Tobago Cays, and Union Islands, according to Cruise Critic.
Bryant states that passengers were required to have a negative PCR test within 72 hours of arrival to Barbados. They were then made to undergo another test which would have been on administered by the ship’s doctor at the dock before they board the ship.
As per Barbados protocols, passengers werer also going to take another test Wednesday, several days into the sailing.
“We all felt very safe… yet somehow, COVID appears to have got on board,” Bryant added.
The Sea Dream Yacht Club said it was re-testing all guests, who are now all under quarantine along with non-essential crew members.
“We are working closely with local health and government authorities to resolve this situation in the best possible way,” Sea Dream said.
“Our main priority is the health and safety of our crew, guests, and the communities we visit.”
Just last week, the Cruise Lines International Association, which represents 95% of global ocean-growing cruise capacity, announced that its members were voluntarily suspending cruise operations in the United States until the end of the year. Sea Dream was among the first cruise lines to resume service in Europe. In August, the company reported that an asymptomatic passenger had tested positive for the coronavirus after disembarking from Sea Dream I in Denmark. All other passengers and crew tested negative, the company said.