Royal Caribbean International has been forced to delay the inaugural cruises from the US aboard its new cruise ship Odyssey of the Seas due to COVID-19 cases among eight of her crew.
Odyssey of the Seas was meant to sail her first passenger voyage on July 3rd from the US, but that has now been delayed until July 31st due to the COVID-19 cases.
The eight crew members tested positive for COVID-19 after they were vaccinated on June 4th, but before they are considered fully vaccinated on June 18th.
All have been placed in quarantine, but only two of them have mild symptoms, while the other six are asymptomatic.
“Out of an abundance of caution, we are postponing Odyssey of the Seas’ first sailings from July 3 until July 31, 2021. The simulation cruise, originally scheduled for late June, will also be rescheduled,” Royal Caribbean International said in a statement.
In a separate statement posted to social media, Michael Bayley, President & CEO of Royal Caribbean International, said the cruise line was taking the additional precautionary step of quarantining all crew aboard the ship for two weeks.
“To protect the remaining crew and prevent any further cases, we will have all crew quarantined for 14 days and continue with our routine testing,” he said. “Guests and travel partners will be notified and given several options to consider.”
“While disappointing, this is the right decision for the health and well-being of our crew and guests,” he added.
The eight COVID-19 cases aboard Odyssey of the Seas come after at least four crew members tested positive for the virus in May when Odyssey of the Seas was in the Mediterranean.
Royal Caribbean confirmed at the time that four crew had caught the virus, while Spanish media reported five had tested positive. It was later reported that the crew had been disembarked in
Spanish media reported the crew were disembarked in Palma de Majorca where they went into quarantine at a private clinic.
The COVID-19 cases amongst the Odyssey of the Seas crew comes after passengers aboard Celebrity Millennium out of St Maarten and MSC Seaside in the Mediterranean tested positive for the virus.
Neither cruise was disrupted as a result of the positive results, with one passenger aboard Celebrity Millennium writing that “Celebrity used contact tracing, mandatory quarantines and testing to contain the spread.”