Cruise Lines to continue sailing plans despite new COVID-19 cases

Royal Caribbean Group and Carnival Corp will push ahead with a return to cruises this summer despite two guests onboard Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Millennium ship testing positive for COVID-19.

A year after several cruise ships were host to major coronavirus outbreaks and with large numbers of Americans now vaccinated, cruise lines have been striving to get business going.

Shares in Royal Caribbean, Carnival Corp and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd fell between 1% and 2% in response to the report of the positive tests.

Asked on Friday, Royal Caribbean declined to give more details on the guests who had tested positive or the circumstances of their infection, saying only that it was not changing its plans for the summer.

A source close to the company who declined to be named, said that Carnival was also pressing ahead as planned.

Celebrity Millennium said in a statement late on Thursday that the individuals were asymptomatic, in isolation and being monitored by medics. The company was also conducting contact tracing and expediting testing for all close contacts.

All guests on Celebrity Millennium were required to show proof of vaccination as well as a negative COVID-19 test before sailing from St. Maarten this past Saturday.

Celebrity Millennium was one of the first ships in North America to restart sailing last week following announcements from all three cruise operators of trips from U.S. ports this summer.

Cruise expert Stewart Chiron, who is on board the Celebrity Millennium ship, told Reuters that life onboard on Thursday night had gone on as planned, with dinners, shows, and evening entertainment. He said no one on board was wearing masks.