Royal Caribbean Delays Anthem of the Seas Sailing Over Coronavirus Tests

Passengers disembark from the cruise ship Anthem of the Seas at the Cape Liberty Cruise Port on Friday, Feb. 7, 2020, in Bayonne, N.J. Passengers were screened, as a precaution, for coronavirus. // Photo by AP Photo/Kevin Hagen via Newscred

Royal Caribbean has delayed Anthem of the Seas’ next sailing from Bayonne, NJ, after four guests were removed from the ship by the CDC to be tested for the coronavirus. According to the latest update from the cruise line, none of the four guests being tested showed any clinical signs or symptoms of the virus, and one had tested positive onboard for the flu. Additionally, the cruise line said its records indicate that the guests had not been in China since January 26, 12 days ago. 

“We have also been cleared by authorities to depart, as usual,” the cruise line said in a written statement. “However, to reassure concerned guests, we will delay our departure ‪until tomorrow, when we will receive the conclusive test results from CDC.”

As a result, the ship’s boarding has been delayed until tomorrow, February 8, at 1:00 p.m. EST as the line awaits the final results from the CDC. The ship will set sail at 5 p.m. that day, which will cut one day at sea from the itinerary. Additionally, the ship’s time in Port Canaveral on Monday, February 10, will now be from 2 p.m. to 3 p.m. Guests will receive a one-day refund in the form of an onboard credit for the day missed, plus a pro-rated credit for any pre-purchased packages, such as beverage, Internet or dining. 

Additionally, all ships in the Royal Caribbean Cruises Ltd. fleet have adopted the following coronavirus screening protocols:

  • Regardless of nationality, any guest or crewmember traveling from, to, or through mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau less than 15 days prior to their sailing will be unable to board any of the company's ships.
  • Any guests holding a Chinese, Hong Kong, or Macau passport, regardless of when they were there last, will not be allowed to board.
  • Any guest or crewmember that has been in contact (which the CDC defines as 6 feet or 2 meters) with someone that has traveled from, to, or through mainland China, Hong Kong, or Macau less than 15 days.          

Additionally, there will be mandatory specialized health screenings performed on:

  • Guests who are unsure if they have been in contact with individuals who have traveled from, to or through mainland China or Hong Kong in the past 15 days;
  • Guests who report feeling unwell or demonstrate any flu-like symptoms.

Any guest presenting with fever or low blood oximetry in the specialized health screening will be denied boarding.

The cruise line has also implemented additional sanitation procedures, and it has added extra medical staff on each sailing. 

There are currently over 28,000 cases of coronavirus in 25 countries worldwide, according to the latest update from the World Health Organization (WHO). Five hundred and sixty-five people have died from the illness thus far, all but one in China. 

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