SeaDream Yacht Club, which recently developed new health and safety protocols and a comprehensive, multiple-testing process, apparently has at least one COVID-19 (coronavirus) case onboard SeaDream I, which is sailing in the southern Caribbean this week. Gene Sloan, a senior reporter for cruise and travel at The Points Guy, was aboard the ship.
Guests onboard the 112-passenger ship have publicly reported that the captain took to the ship's public address system on Wednesday to advise that one passenger was feeling unwell and suspected of having COVID-19. Guests and non-essential crew were asked to isolate in their accommodations for at least 24 hours. The ship, sailing on an itinerary that included St. Vincent and the Grenadines and Barbados, began sailing back to Barbados after the situation developed.
In an update this morning, the 53 guests onboard received a letter delivered to their accommodations that refers to "guests" (plural) that have tested positive for COVID-19. No additional details were provided. Beyond the 53 guests, there are 66 crew onboard.
In a press announcement, SeaDream Yacht Club says it advised local health authorities and set in motion its COVID response protocols to protect guests and crew. The ship’s medical staff has tested all crew members and all tests have come back negative. SeaDream is currently re-testing all guests.
In addition, every crew member is certified for the WHO’s "Infection Prevention and Control" for novel coronavirus course and COVID-19 contact tracing course from Johns Hopkins University. SeaDream says it operated successfully earlier this year in Norway, completing 21 voyages during the summer season as the first luxury line to resume sailing.
“After completing a successful summer season in Norway, we implemented even stricter health and safety protocols for our Barbados winter season. All guests were tested twice prior to embarkation and we are in the process of re-testing guests.” said SeaDream’s president Andreas Brynestad. “We are working closely with local health and government authorities to resolve this situation in the best possible way. Our main priority is the health and safety of our crew, guests, and the communities we visit.”
The line has been delivering meals to guests in their accommodations since the situation began on Wednesday.
There are people from many nations onboard, including Austria, Sweden, Germany and the U.S., among others. At least 37 Americans are onboard. This was the first such Barbados roundtrip cruise since the ship completed its transatlantic journey earlier this month. Some passengers have been on the transatlantic and, now, this sailing; other passengers on the seven-night cruise boarded on Saturday.
Note: SeaDream told its trade partners it is cancelling its next voyage, which departs from Barbados Saturday, November 14. The cruise line's reservations team is reaching out to guests and travel partners affected by this change.