Royal Caribbean's First Sailing Delayed After Crew Tests Positive for COVID-19

Good things come to those who wait, right? Right?

Odyssey of the Seas pool deck

Courtesy of Royal Caribbean

It looks like there’s been another anchor tossed overboard in the cruise industry’s efforts to get back out to sea. On June 16, Royal Caribbean announced that the inaugural sailing for Odyssey of the Seas would once again be pushed back. We’ll give you one guess why.

“Two steps forward, and one step back,” Royal Caribbean president and CEO Michael Bayley shared in a statement on Wednesday. Bayley then announced that eight of the ship’s crew had tested positive for COVID-19 during the second round of routine tests.

Although Odyssey did not require passengers to be vaccinated to join the sailing, all of the crew were required to be fully vaccinated before the first sailing. On June 4, upon arrival in Port Canaveral, Florida, all 1,400 of Odyssey’s crew members were vaccinated. On June 10—eight days before these vaccinations would be considered fully effective—eight crew members tested positive for COVID-19 during follow-up testing.

Six of the crew were asymptomatic and the other two presented with mild symptoms, but Royal Caribbean isn’t taking any chances. Currently, all crew are quarantined for 14 days and will continue to undergo routine testing.

“Out of an abundance of caution, we are postponing Odyssey’s inaugural sailing from July 3 to July 31, 2021,” Bayley’s statement continued. “A simulation cruise, originally scheduled for late June, will also be rescheduled.”

The news comes on the heels of the recent positive COVID-19 cases discovered onboard Celebrity Millennium (whose parent company is Royal Caribbean Group) and MSC Seaside, the former being the first ship to sail with fully vaccinated crew and passengers. Both cruise lines reported the onboard positive tests showed up during the routine testing that is part of each line’s new mandatory COVID-19 safety protocols.

Anyone who was booked on the delayed Odyssey cruise will be notified and given options for refunds and rebooking. “While disappointing,” said Bayley, “this is the right decision for the health and well-being of our crew and guests.”

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