Two passengers have tested positive for COVID-19 aboard the first cruise to sail in North America since the industry closed in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic.
Guests shared the same room on Celebrity Cruises’ Celebrity Millennium ship, which left St. Maarten in the Caribbean on Saturday. Their positive diagnosis was confirmed on Thursday before the ship returned to the port of Philipsburg.
“The individuals are asymptomatic and currently isolated and monitored by our medical team,” Celebrity’s parent company Royal Caribbean said in a statement. “We are doing contact tracing, speeding up testing for all close contacts and monitoring the situation closely. “
The infected couple will remain in St. Maarten until they test negative, a spokesperson for the cruise line told ABC News. The company said it would help them on their eventual journey home. He did not reveal where they came from.
The seven-night cruise left St. Maarten with great hype with around 600 passengers, or about a third of the ship’s total capacity. All would have been fully vaccinated. The ship called in Aruba, Barbados and Curacao before the virus that shut down the industry 15 months ago reaffirmed itself.
Celebrity CEO Lisa Lutoff-Perlo hailed boating as “an important moment for our company, our industry.” Cruise ships have been accused of feeding the virus around the world at the start of the outbreak.
“There will be no masks or social distancing required because our occupancy rate is low,” Lutoff-Perlo said last week. “Guests will have plenty of space, with plenty of dining and activity options.”
The ship was sailing “with a fully vaccinated crew and guests and followed comprehensive protocols that align with our destination partners and exceed CDC guidelines to protect the health and safety of our guests,” the company said.
All crew members and adult guests were to be fully immunized and test negative for the virus 72 hours before departure. Unvaccinated children only had to show proof of a negative test, CNN reported.
The Celebrity’s Celebrity Edge is expected to become the first ship from a US port since the pandemic closed on June 26, from Fort Lauderdale, Florida.
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