Royal Caribbean cruise skips two islands after 55 passengers test positive for COVID-19

A Royal Caribbean cruise ship has been refused entry to two islands after dozens of crew and passengers, all who had been vaccinated tested positive for Covid just days after setting sail.

The Odyssey of the Seas will not be allowed to make port at Curacao and Aruba, two of just three stops in its itinerary before returning to Fort Lauderdale, Florida on December 26. Health officials in Curacao refused to allow the ship to dock because the percentage of infected people on board was too high, the Curacao Chronicle reported.

Dr Izzy Gerstenbluth, an epidemiologist on the island, said that when it was found that more than one percent of crew members were infected, passengers were banned from disembarking.

“The day before yesterday, 18 crew members were positive, yesterday 36 and this morning there were 51,” he told the publication. “In addition, several crew members have not been quarantined, so there is a good chance that passengers have also been infected.”

It means tourists onboard the 5,500-passenger liner will spend Christmas Day at sea with activities and entertainment reduced to prevent spread of the virus.

Royal Caribbean requires travelers who are 12 and older to have two doses of the Pfizer or Moderna vaccine or one dose of the Johnson & Johnson vaccine. 

Everyone who has tested positive “are fully vaccinated and mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic,” according to Royal Caribbean. “Close contacts were also identified and placed in quarantine to be monitored for 24 hours prior to testing. We are sailing with a layered set of health and safety measures in place to make our cruises the safest vacations possible,” the statement said.

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