Two passengers on board the first cruise to set sail in North America since the industry was shut down in 2020 due to the coronavirus pandemic
tested positive for COVID-19
The guests were sharing the same room on Celebrity Cruises' Celebrity Millennium
, which left St. Maarten in the Caribbean on Saturday, and their positive diagnosis was confirmed on Thursday, ahead of the ship's return to the port of Philipsburg.
“The individuals are asymptomatic and are currently isolated and being monitored by our medical team,” said Royal Caribbean, Celebrity’s parent company, in a statement. “We are conducting contact tracing, expediting testing for all close contacts, and closely monitoring the situation.”
A spokesperson for the cruise line told ABC News
that the infected couple will remain in St. Maarten until they test negative, and that the company will assist them on their eventual journey home.
The seven-night cruise left St. Maarten with 600 passengers, roughly one-third of the ship's total capacity, all of whom were said to be fully vaccinated. The ship made stops in Aruba, Barbados, and Curacoa before the virus that shut down the industry 15 months ago resurfaced.
Lisa Lutoff-Perlo described the voyage as "a significant moment for our company, our industry." In the early days of the outbreak, cruise ships were blamed for spreading the virus worldwide.
“There will be no need for masks
or social distancing
because our occupancy is low,” Lutoff-Perlo said last week, adding that “the guests will have plenty of space
, with plenty of dining options and activities.”
According to the company, the ship was sailing "with fully vaccinated crew and guests and following comprehensive protocols that align with our destination partners and exceed CDC
guidelines to protect the health
and safety of our guests."
According to CNN
, all crew and adult guests were required to be fully vaccinated and test negative for the virus 72 hours before departure, while unvaccinated children
only needed to show proof of a negative test.
Celebrity's Celebrity Edge is set to sail from Fort Lauderdale, Florida
, on June 26 as the first ship to leave a U.S. port since the pandemic shutdown.