As Cruises Resume, a Positive Covid-19 Case Doesn’t Spell the End of a Voyage

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Two passengers sharing a room on a Caribbean cruise ship tested positive this week for Covid-19, triggering safety precautions that enabled some 600 other passengers to continue eating and gambling on the ship.

Cruise lines are preparing to resume sailings starting later this month in the U.S.—their main market—breaking more than a year of hiatus in the country. They hope to show they have protocols in place to handle Covid cases and allow the cruise to continue, in contrast to some high-profile outbreaks that occurred last year.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention requires cruise companies to strike agreements with ports, so as to not burden local authorities in the event of a positive Covid-19 case, but doesn’t require the cruise to be halted unless there is a major outbreak.

The positive cases on the Celebrity Millennium ship, operated by Royal Caribbean Group , were detected after nearly all passengers showed proof of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours before embarking from the island of St. Maarten last week. The few people who didn’t show proof of vaccination were children.

The passengers who tested positive are asymptomatic and are in isolation, the cruise line said. The seven-day cruise, which is operating at 30% capacity, is the company’s first North America sailing since onboard coronavirus cases brought sailings to a halt last year.

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