Royal Caribbean International is postponing the inaugural departures of its new cruise ship after eight crew members tested positive for coronavirus during routine testing.
The original Odyssey of the Seas cruises, which the cruise line planned as six- and eight-night cruises in the Southern and Western Caribbean from Fort Lauderdale, Fla., July 3-31 , are canceled as a precaution, Royal Caribbean spokesman Lyan Sierra-Caro told USA TODAY. The launch will be postponed until July 31, when the first departure with paying passengers is now scheduled. Four crossings were abandoned in total.
A test cruise originally scheduled by the company to depart in late June, although it has yet to receive CDC approval to sail, is in the process of being rescheduled for a date to be announced, Sierra said. Caro..
Those who had planned to sail “will be informed and given several options to consider,” Royal Caribbean President and CEO Michael Bayley said in a Facebook post.
Ready to set sail? Royal Caribbean announces summer cruises departing from ports in Texas and Florida
Previously:Unrest in Israel leads Royal Caribbean to cancel Odyssey of the Seas departures from June to October from Haifa
Odyssey’s 1,400 crew were vaccinated on June 4, but positive cases were found before the vaccines were considered fully effective on June 18.
Of the eight crew members who tested positive, six were asymptomatic and two showed mild symptoms. They have been quarantined and monitored by the Royal Caribbean medical team, according to Bayley’s post. All crew members are quarantined for 14 days, and the cruise line plans to continue weekly routine testing.
“Although disappointing, it is the right decision for the health and well-being of our crew and our guests,” Bayley said in the post.
The ship had been scheduled for an inaugural departure from Haifa, Israel, on June 2, but this was canceled due to unrest in the region.
Seven more Royal Caribbean ships are scheduled to depart from ports in Texas, Florida and Seattle this summer.
Passengers on most Royal Caribbean cruises are “strongly recommended” to be fully vaccinated, and those who are not vaccinated or cannot check their vaccinations will need to be tested and follow other protocols.
Those on board ships to Alaska in July who are 16 years of age and older should be fully immunized. The required age drops to 12 years from August 1.