By Jennifer Hassan
Norwegian-owned cruise ship operator SeaDream Yacht Club, which returned to Barbados just five days ago, has cancelled sailing for the rest of the year after several positive coronavirus tests among passengers and staff on one of its cruises.
The family-run business, one of the first to resume travel amid the pandemic, said in a statement on Tuesday that even though "multiple" negative tests were required before travel, seven guests and two staff members were found to have the virus last week after being tested by Barbados health officials.
The company had offered cruises in the Mediterranean from May through October and the Caribbean Sea from November through April.
"Immediately after performing the preliminary rapid Covid test onboard and receiving the assumptive positive results, SeaDream advised local health authorities and set in motion its Covid response protocols to protect guests and crew," SeaDream said in its statement.
"The ship's medical staff has tested all crew members and all tests have come back negative. SeaDream is currently retesting all guests."
Writing on Twitter earlier this month, the firm said it was "proud to be the only line currently sailing in the Caribbean," assuring people that those on board would be safe due to a range of regulations.
The company had implemented safety measures including thermal temperature scanners for passengers, hand-sanitizing stations and a fog machine capable of disinfecting large spaces and surfaces.
The company said it would be taking some time to "evaluate" future travel plans, adding that it needs to "see if it is possible to operate and have a high degree of certainty of not getting Covid."