Two passengers aboard the Celebrity Millennium Cruise have tested positive for COVID-19, cruise line Royal Caribbean Group announced Thursday. It was the first cruise ship to sail in the Caribbean in more than a year since the start of the pandemic.
The Miami-based cruise line said in a statement that the two guests, who shared a room on the ship, tested positive while they completed the required end-of-cruise tests. The two passengers are asymptomatic and currently isolated.
“We are conducting contact tracing, speeding up testing for all close contacts and closely monitoring the situation,” the company said.
The Celebrity Millennium ship set sail last week with a “fully vaccinated” crew and adult guests, according to the company. All cruise guests were required to present proof of vaccination and atest within 72 hours before departure from Saint-Martin last Saturday. The crew and guests also had to follow “comprehensive protocols” that align with destination partners.
Royal Caribbean has not held cruises since March 2020. The Celebrity Millennium had 648 passengers and more than 95% of them were fully vaccinated, CBS Miami reported. Children who could not yet be vaccinated were required to test negative for COVID-19.
The positive tests come as the Republican governors of Florida and Texas refuse to let companies require passengers to prove they have been vaccinated, despite the CDC’s recommendation that 95% of all passengers should be vaccinated when ‘they are leaving American ports. The cruise industry has spent over a year negotiating with the CDC on how to safely protect against COVID and prevent super-spread events.
Before COVID, more than $ 10 billion in direct spending was generated by the cruise industry in Texas and Florida, nearly half of annual cruise spending in the United States Cruise lines are now eager to recoup some of this sum.
Royal Caribbean Group CEO Richard Fain told CBS News transport correspondent Errol Barnett that he was eager to see Americans boarding one of his ships from Port Everglades in two weeks.
“It’s very exciting,” Fain said. “But I’m still confused about the details involved in getting us there.”