Passengers quarantined as a third cruise ship deals with a COVID situation

Aug 5, 2020

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Make that three cruise ships that are dealing with a COVID crisis.

SeaDream Yacht Club late Tuesday said passengers and most crew on one of its two ships, the 112-passenger SeaDream I, had been placed in quarantine on board the vessel after a passenger from a previous voyage tested positive for COVID-19.

In a statement sent to TPG, the line said only crew essential to operate the vessel, which is in the midst of a seven-night cruise along the Norwegian coast, were exempt from the quarantine.

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The ship is heading back to the port of Bodø, Norway, and the voyage is being cancelled.

The SeaDream statement said the passenger who tested positive, who is Danish, had left the vessel on Sunday in Tromsø, Norway, at the end of the ship’s last sailing.

The passenger received the positive test result Tuesday afternoon and will, according to the procedures in Denmark, be tested again on Sunday. For now, the passenger has no symptoms of the illness.

SeaDream Yacht Club operates two 112-passenger vessels that have a yacht-like feel. (Photo courtesy of SeaDream Yacht Club).
SeaDream Yacht Club operates two 112-passenger vessels that have a yacht-like feel. (Photo courtesy of SeaDream Yacht Club)

In a statement issued late Tuesday, the Norwegian Institute of Health said it was in discussions with the town of Bodø and a local hospital about “handling testing, quarantine and more” for the passengers and crew on board SeaDream I after it arrives.

All passengers and crew will undergo a 10-day quarantine, the institute said. It didn’t say if passengers would be quarantined on or off the vessel.

“We sincerely hope that there is no COVID-19 on board, and we are not aware of any other guests or crew who are infected or have any symptoms, but we are taking all necessary precautions”, the SeaDream statement said. “All guests and crew were informed, as well as the Norwegian Institute of Public Health (NIPH) and the Norwegian Directorate of Health as soon as we received the information this afternoon”.

SeaDream is one of a handful of cruise lines around the world that have attempted to resume sailings in recent weeks after shutting down for months due to the coronavirus pandemic. The line operates two small, 112-passenger vessels.

The situation on SeaDream I is unfolding just four days after one of the first cruise ships in the world to resume operations experienced a significant coronavirus outbreak.

Norwegian expedition cruise company Hurtigruten’s 535-passenger Roald Amundsen arrived in Tromsø, Norway, on Friday with four sick crew members who later tested positive for COVID-19. Another 32 crew members and at least nine passengers have since tested positive.

The four sick crew members have been hospitalised.

The Roald Amundsen had just finished its second sailing since resuming operations, a seven-night trip out of Tromsø to the Arctic’s wildlife-filled Svalbard archipelago.

Over the weekend, a second vessel — the French Polynesia-based Paul Gauguin — experienced a COVID scare after a passenger on board tested positive.

Related: Did cruise lines try to return to service too soon? 

The 332-passenger ship, operated by Tahiti-based Paul Gauguin Cruises, was just three days into its first sailing with international passengers since the line stopped departures four months ago.

After the COVID-19 case was discovered, the Paul Gauguin returned early to its home port of Papeete, Tahiti, and passengers on the vessel were confined to their cabins for several days while they underwent testing. The cruise was cancelled.

SeaDream, Hurtigruten and Paul Gauguin Cruises have been at the forefront of efforts to bring back cruising around the world.

Hurtigruten in June became the first line to resume ocean cruises anywhere in the world when it began offering voyages to Norway out of Hamburg, Germany. It added cruises to Svalbard on the Roald Amundsen and the 335-passenger Spitsbergen in July.

Paul Gauguin Cruises was the first line to offer cruises in the South Pacific and also the first line in the world to welcome back Americans on trips.

Related: French Polynesia to be at the vanguard of cruising’s return 

SeaDream has offered some of the first cruises along the coast of Norway.

The three lines are relative outliers in the cruise industry when it comes to resuming service. Most major cruise brands, including Royal Caribbean, Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises, have cancelled all sailings well into the fall. Some lines such as Crystal Cruises don’t plan to resume operations until January at the earliest.

SeaDream on Tuesday said it has begun contacting passengers who were on board last week’s sailing to let them know of the passenger who tested positive.

Featured image courtesy of SeaDream Yacht Club

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