‘Cruise To Nowhere’ Crew Member Tests Positive For COVID On Royal Caribbean

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Royal Caribbean pushed back an inaugural voyage on a new ship after eight crew members tested positive for Covid-19
Royal Caribbean pushed back an inaugural voyage on a new ship after eight crew members tested positive for Covid-19

A Royal Caribbean (RCL) “cruise-to-nowhere” Hong Kong sailing has been canceled after a crew member tested positive for COVID-19 48 hours prior to departure.

Hong Kong authorities halted the Spectrum of the Seas ship from leaving the Hong Kong terminal late on Thursday after the crew member, who was fully vaccinated, had a COVID test that came back positive during routine testing.

The Royal Caribbean sailing was slated for a journey in nearby waters with half passenger capacity and only fully vaccinated guests onboard that tested negative for COVID 48 hours prior to departure of the trip, Reuters said.

At the time of cancellation of the cruise, about 1,000 of the 1,200 passengers were on board the ship, which would sail for four nights, according to the Hong Kong Centre for Health Protection.

In a statement on Facebook, Royal Caribbean said, “In a routine COVID-19 test on crew members today, we identified one crew member who tested indeterminate. Following secondary sample testing, the test resulted preliminary positive for COVID-19.”

The 40-year-old crew member had tested positive for COVID-19 in July in Malaysia, testing negative more than 10 times in August since he returned to Hong Kong and was fully vaccinated with China’s Sinovac vaccine in May.

The most recent COVID test was performed on the crew member on Oct. 19, where the Hong Kong Centre for Health and Protection said he had a “very low viral load” and was “asymptomatic.”

All other passengers on the ship were required to undergo compulsory COVID testing and were allowed to leave the ship as they did not have direct contact with the infected crew member who works in the back office, the Hong Kong Free Press reported.

All of the other 1,250 crew members on the ship were fully vaccinated and tested negative, Royal Caribbean said.

Passengers of the cruise will be given a full refund in addition to a transport subsidy and credits for a future booking, according to the cruise line.

Hong Kong has reported over 12,312 COVID cases and 213 COVID-related deaths, as reported by the Hong Kong Free Press. It had seen 51 straight days of zero COVID infections until Oct. 8 when an airport cargo terminal worker tested positive for the virus.




Photo: GETTY IMAGES NORTH AMERICA / JOE RAEDLE

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