Two children under 16 years old tested positive for COVID-19 on a Royal Caribbean International cruise ship in the Caribbean Thursday.
The company disembarked the kids and their travel party early from the Adventure of the Seas ship, flying them home from the Bahamas to Florida on a private plane, the company said. One child is showing mild symptoms, the company said, and the other is asymptomatic. The cruise ship is carrying about 1,000 passengers — about one-third of its passenger capacity — and 1,000 crew members.
The positive cases were discovered five days into an eight-day cruise from Nassau, one of the first to operate in the Caribbean since last March when the industry shut down after COVID-19 outbreaks and deaths on several ships. The ship made stops in Cozumel, the company’s private island in the Bahamas, and Freeport, where the passengers with COVID-19 disembarked. The company said 92% of passengers on board are vaccinated and 8% — all under 16 years old — are unvaccinated.
Royal Caribbean International spokesperson Lyan Sierra-Caro said the company immediately quarantined the two children onboard. Contact tracing identified five close contacts of the children, who all tested negative, she said.
The positive cases show how difficult it is to keep COVID-19 off cruise ships even with vaccination and testing requirements.
Earlier this month, two adult passengers tested positive on the Celebrity Millennium ship in the Caribbean, even though all adult passengers and crew showed proof of vaccination before boarding. Also this month, eight crew members tested positive on Royal Caribbean International’s Odyssey of the Seas ship off Florida’s coast, less than two weeks since crew members on board were vaccinated. In response, the company pushed back the ship’s tentative restart date by nearly a month.
On Saturday an oceangoing cruise ship, the Celebrity Edge, carrying paying passengers is scheduled to leave from a U.S. port, Port Everglades, for the first time since March 2020. Last week a crew member on board tested positive for COVID-19 and was removed from the ship. The company said Saturday’s cruise will go on as planned.