Due to a COVID-19 outbreak among crew members, Royal Caribbean postponed the departure of its newest cruise ship.

source: npr.org

For the second time, the last great ship of the cruise company has its inauguration postponed. This time, it is because eight members of his crew have COVID 19.

Cruise giant Royal Caribbean has postponed its maiden voyage on its newest ship because eight crew members tested positive for COVID-19.

The Odyssey of the Seas ship was scheduled to depart for a six- to eight-night voyage in the western and southern Caribbean between July 3-31. In that period, the company had practically completely sold four cruise ships. Due to an excess of precaution, according to the definition of the company's spokesperson, Lyan Sierra-Caro, they have decided to postpone the cruise ship's departure with passengers until July 31.

The company also had a test trip on the Odyssey of the Seas organized for the end of June, which will also be rescheduled for a later date.

Those who had purchased rides on this cruise for July will be offered alternative travel dates, or the money will be refunded, the company confirmed.

The Odyssey ship has a crew of 1,400 people. All of them were vaccinated on June 4. As a matter of course, the company continued to test for COVID among its staff - who, despite not interacting with passengers, they are working on the ships. On June 18, it is considered that the vaccines will give you complete protection two weeks after vaccination. But two days earlier, at the routine check-up, eight employees tested positive for coronavirus.

Of the eight crew members with COVID-19, the company reported that six are asymptomatic, while the remaining two have mild symptoms. Immediately, these eight people were isolated - while they receive medical controls from the doctors onboard the cruise ship - and the rest of the crew will be in quarantine for the next 14 days. Once that period is over, they will be tested for COVID once a week for control.

"Although it is a disappointment, we are making the right decision by prioritizing the health and well-being of our employees and passengers, " stated in a message through the social network Twitter, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley, explaining the situation.

It is not the first time that the debut of Odyssey of the Seas has been postponed. The maiden voyage was originally scheduled to depart on June 2 from the port of Haifa in Israel. Due to the war in the area, the company changed plans and moved the tour to the Caribbean.

Another seven ships of the company are due to resume commercial activity this summer from ports in Florida and Texas.

It is not yet clear if the company will require proof of vaccination, to ensure that 95% of passengers are immunized against COVID 19 - as required by the CDC (Centers for Disease Control, for its acronym in English) -, or if they will let each passenger be responsible for themselves, as suggested by the Governor of Florida, Ron DeSantis. The latter prohibited any company in his state from asking for proof of vaccination.

As communicated on the cruise company's website, Royal Caribbean suggests to its clients that they get vaccinated. However, it is not an exclusive requirement. They offer discounts for those who voluntarily present their vaccination card and will consider that whoever does not present it is not vaccinated, requiring them to wear masks at all times in the ship's public areas.