Suspected Covid case on first Caribbean cruise since pandemic

12 November 2020, 22:56

A passenger aboard the first cruise ship to set sail in the Caribbean since the start of the pandemic has tested positive for Covid-19 (file image)
A passenger aboard the first cruise ship to set sail in the Caribbean since the start of the pandemic has tested positive for Covid-19 (file image). Picture: PA

By Maddie Goodfellow

A passenger aboard the first cruise ship to set sail in the Caribbean since the start of the pandemic has tested positive for Covid-19, according to reports.

One passenger fell ill and is believed to have Covid-19, officials said on Thursday.

The SeaDream is currently carrying 53 passengers and 66 crew, with the majority of passengers hailing from the US.

Sue Bryant, a cruise ship reporter who is aboard the ship, told the Associated Press that one passenger became sick on Wednesday and forced the ship to turn back to Barbados.

However, the ship had yet to dock in Barbados as local authorities tested those on board.

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Gene Sloan, a cruise writer for The Points Guy, said on Wednesday that the captain of the SeaDream 1 made a shipwide announcement alerting guests to the positive case and asked that everyone return to their rooms.

Sloan told NBC's "Today" show that the ship came up with an "incredibly rigorous system" to try and keep Covid-19 cases off the vessel.

"Everyone was tested before arriving in Barbados and again at the pier and received negative results and passengers also did not interact with locals during their stops and were shuttled to empty beaches to either relax or do an excursion.

"We haven't interacted with people in any of the places we've gone. So somebody got on the ship with Covid," Sloan said.

"At the beginning of the trip, passengers were not required to wear face masks."

Sloan explained that the ship believed that its extensive testing prior to passengers boarding "would block Covid at the door, so to speak.

"But that changed when two days into the voyage the captain said that masks would be mandatory."I'm a little worried," Sloan said.

"I've interacted with the other passengers on board over the last few days."

The incident marked the first time SeaDream had resumed its West Indies voyages since the pandemic, with the ship originally scheduled to return to Barbados on Saturday, according to an online itinerary.

The ship had made several stops in St Vincent and the Grenadines before turning back.

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Bryant said passengers were required to have a negative PCR test to enter Barbados and underwent another test on the dock administered by the ship’s doctor.

“We all felt very safe,” she said.

“Yet somehow, Covid appears to have got on board.”

Waters around the Caribbean have been largely bereft of cruise ships this year, however the no-sail order expired on 31 October.