Travel | November 12, 2020 6:30 am

The First Cruise Ship Back in the Caribbean Just Had a COVID Scare

A positive test forced a 53-passenger yacht back to shore

SeaDream Yacht Club
A ship from the SeaDream Yacht Club had to cut short its return to the Caribbean.
SeaDream Yacht Club

The first cruise ship to resume sailing in the Caribbean since the start of the COVID-19 pandemic is currently undergoing a coronavirus scare.

Bizarrely, we know of this because Gene Sloan of travel site The Points Guy is on-board the ship covering the return to waters, the first time since March. So far Sloan has reported that the captain announced a passenger tested positive for COVID-19 on the SeaDream Yacht Club’s SeaDream 1 on a “preliminary basis.”

Passengers and nonessential crew in this smaller, yacht-like vessel (53 passengers, 66 crew) were then told to isolate in their cabins.

As Sloan notes, “The Caribbean is the world’s biggest cruise destination, accounting for at least a third of all cruises taken in a normal year, and the cruise industry has been eyeing a restart in the region for many months.” The relaunch of any cruise ship is a big deal — this possible positive test is not ideal news, and arrives even after passengers were required to take a test both before and the day of boarding, with a third test scheduled after the ship sailed.

Social distancing and mask wearing (at least after Monday) were also part of the ship’s new safety procedures. The ship also docked only on empty beaches during its travels, which is more restrictive than what the larger cruise lines have suggested.

At press time, the ship was scheduled to return to Barbados on Wednesday night, with additional COVID testing happening immediately after.