Passenger tests positive for COVID-19 on one of the first Caribbean cruises since March

Posted at 4:00 PM, Nov 12, 2020
and last updated 2020-11-12 22:57:08-05

SAN DIEGO (KGTV) -- A passenger has tested positive for coronavirus on one of the first Caribbean cruises since the pandemic started. The case may push the start of cruising out of San Diego even further.

On its maiden voyage since the pandemic, the SeaDream Cruiseliner has its first case of COVID-19. Travel writer Gene Sloan for “The Points Guy” is on that ship and now stuck in quarantine.

“They’re going right now cabin to cabin and testing everyone on board,” said Sloan.

The ship with 53 passengers and 66 crew set sail from Barbados on Saturday. Sloan says everyone got tested before getting on board and the trip was going well until the captain made an announcement Wednesday that someone had tested positive.

All passengers were instructed to self-isolate in their staterooms.

The CDC’s “No Sail Order” for ships in the United States expired Oct. 30. New guidance requires cruise lines to demonstrate widespread testing, isolation plans, and mock voyages with volunteers before being allowed to sail.

That process could take several months to complete.

A 7-day Holland America cruise is scheduled to leave from San Diego on Jan. 2 pending clearance from the CDC.

The Port of San Diego released this statement to ABC 10News:

"It is too soon to say how soon sailing could resume in San Diego. With COVID cases continuing to go up, it’s really impossible to predict what might happen as we really don’t know how things will develop in the days, weeks and months ahead. We know the cruise lines want to operate, and many cruise customers are eager to get back to cruising. We are coordinating with Holland America, Carnival and Disney on their plans, and will do what we can to support our cruise partners and their customers when sailings resume."
Adam Deaton, Port of San Diego, Cruise Business Representative

Sloan says the positive case on his ship may create even more of a setback for ships in the U.S.

“My best guess was it would be March or April before we start cruising out of San Diego, L.A. or Miami,” said Sloan. “Cruising can be done in this era. I think it’s really unfortunate that this happened on the very first trip because this may be a fluke. The next ten trips may be fine.”