A passenger on board a “cruise-to-nowhere” from Singapore has tested positive for Covid-19, the operator Royal Caribbean said on Wednesday.
Singapore has been trialling the trips which are open only to the city-state’s residents, make no stops and sail in waters close by. At 2.45 am on Wednesday morning, the captain of the Quantum of the Seas informed the 2,000 passengers that the ship was to return to dock a day early and that they should stay in their rooms, the Straits Times reports.
At 8.10 the captain confirmed that a passenger had tested positive. Breakfast would be served to passengers in their rooms, he said.
“It’s important that you know that you are safe on board and we have a good plan in place to maintain your health, safety and comfort.”
The captain of Royal Caribbeans’s Quantum of the Seas cruise ship announces that a passenger has tested positive for coronavirus.
In early December, the New York Times reported that every passenger on the World Dream ship, run by the same operator as Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas, wore “small pink contact-tracing pods that monitored their locations and recorded the names of everybody they met with”.
Other coronavirus precautions included hand sanitiser stations at the slot machines and mandatory masks even when at the pool, in what it called “a vision of the future of the global cruise industry”.
The Quantum of the Seas also has a hospital equipped with ventilators. It is carrying half its capacity, fresh air is pumped throughout the ship via air-conditioning systems, and any non-Singapore-resident crew had to quarantine for 14 days in their home country and a further 14 days in Singapore before boarding.
The industry has taken a major hit from the coronavirus pandemic, with some of the earliest big outbreaks found on cruise ships. But demand for the cruise to nowhere was six times the normal number for October, the company told the New York Times.
In a statement following the positive diagnosis, Royal Caribbean said: “We identified and isolated all guests and crew who had close contact with this guest, and each of those individuals have subsequently tested negative for the virus.”
Guests would be disembarked following after contact tracing was reviewed.
The guest who tested positive will be refunded the full amount of the cruise, according to the Straits Times. Everyone else will be refunded the value of one day on the cruise.
“We understand that this isn’t exactly how you planned to spend your cruise and we are terribly sorry,” the captain said in his announcement.