Atlas Ocean Voyages has been unable to complete its inaugural cruise from Greece to Egypt due to a case of COVID-19 being discovered onboard its ship World Navigator.
The ship World Navigator was enroute from Athens to Cairo when a passenger tested positive for coronavirus, prompting the ship to return to its last port and test close contacts.
The test of close contacts and traveling companions of the passenger returned negative and the guest was disembarked in Heraklion, the cruise line said in a statement.
“After satisfying the Greek port authority that World Navigator‘s health and safety protocols had successfully prevented any transmission, all guests were cleared to independently enjoy an evening in Heraklion,” the statement added.
Having missed only one day of a planned two-day stop at Alexandria, Atlas Ocean Voyages quickly arranged for passengers to continue their trip by chartering planes to take them to Cairo.
There, on Thursday, they were able to go on the Egypt tours they’d booked, concluding the full Atlas experience as planned — a celebration dinner and party on the Giza Plateau overlooking the pyramids, which were illuminated into the evening exclusively for World Navigator.
The guests are due to fly home Friday.
World Navigator had departed Athens on August 3rd, carrying 104 passengers on its inaugural voyage, a nine-night Greek Isles and Egypt itinerary.
The ship’s scheduled August 13th cruise from Cairo will continue, but has been modified so that guests will no longer board in Egypt.
Instead, they’ll fly to Cairo as planned and go on the booked shore excursions, before flying to Heraklion, where they will join the ship for the 7-night Greek Isles portion of the itinerary, with the cruise ending in Piraeus (Athens).
“While the ship remains in Heraklion, Egypt really wanted us to come, but the timing would have made our guests miss their tours,” an Atlas spokesman told Seatrade Cruise News.
“We feel that our health and safety protocols worked to prevent any on-board transmission,” the spokesperson added.
The case aboard World Navigator is the latest coronavirus incident aboard a cruise ship as the industry continues to resume operations.
Since July last year, when the first passenger voyages began to resume in the Mediterranean, there have been 258 reported cases of COVID-19 aboard cruise ships, none of them have resulted in an outbreak aboard the ships.