Luxury cruise line SeaDream has cancelled the rest of its 2020 sailings after seven guests and two crew tested positive for Covid-19 on its first Caribbean voyage.
The confirmation that crew were also affected suggests there must have been transmission of the virus on board the ship, despite all the measures that had been put in place, which included tests on boarding.
The week-long voyage carrying only 53 passengers – less than half the ship’s normal capacity – ran into controversy within days of leaving Barbados because crew were pictured not wearing masks. SeaDream then said passengers and crew would have to use face coverings when they could not socially distance.
There were high hopes for the Caribbean season of 22 round-trip cruises from Bridgetown after SeaDream sailed a whole season in Norway with both its small ships without incident, aside from one positive test from a guest after he returned to Denmark. He was later found to be negative.
Before arriving in Barbados, SeaDream I had completed a 21-day transatlantic voyage from Oslo that also picked up guests in Portsmouth, UK.
Announcing the West Indies voyages in September, SeaDream’s Andreas Brynestad said: ‘Sailing during these times undoubtedly presents some new challenges. But as the first luxury line to begin sailing again, we have learned many lessons and are confident we can provide a safe environment without sacrificing luxury. We are thrilled to offer our guests a much-needed escape and the dream vacation they deserve on board SeaDream.’
In a press release today, SeaDream said: ‘Multiple negative PCR tests were required before the guests boarded, but this was not sufficient to prevent Covid-19 onboard.
‘SeaDream successfully operated more than 20 sailings during the pandemic without any cases and further improvements were made to protocols before the Barbados season.
‘The company will now spend time to evaluate and see if it is possible to operate and have a high degree of certainty of not getting Covid. Seven guests and two crew members have tested positive for Covid-19 by Barbados health authorities.’
The seven passengers who tested positive are all believed to be Americans. One man, who travelled in a party of five who all tested positive, was flown back to California on a medical evacuation flight.