Royal Caribbean Odyssey of the Seas’ latest Caribbean cruise was up to a bumpy start after the ship was forced to briefly return to Florida to disembark a COVID-19 symptomatic passenger and his immediate contacts.
Royal Caribbean newest luxury ship originally departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 18 for an eight-night Caribbean cruise, but later on, during routine weekly testing, some fully vaccinated crew members had tested positive for COVID-19.
“Close contacts were quickly identified, and they each immediately went into quarantine,” Royal Caribbean spokesperson said, adding that total of 55 people on the ship have caught the COVID-19 virus.
Despite this number being relatively small – there are 3,587 passengers and 1,599 crew on board – the outbreak meant that Curacao and Aruba ports, where the Odyssey of the Seas planned to dock, turned the vessel away.
“The decision was made together with the islands and out of an abundance of caution, due to the current trend of cases in the destination communities and having COVID-19-positive cases on board … representing 1.1% of the onboard community,” Royal Caribbean said in a statement.
The entertainment schedule on board the ill-fated Odyssey of the Seas has also changed, Royal Caribbean confirmed, while the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have launched an investigation.
Early in the pandemic, cruise ships experienced major COVID-19 outbreaks, with many vessels being blocked from entering ports of call.