June 17, 2021 -- The inaugural sailing of the cruise ship Odyssey of the Seas has been postponed because eight of 1,400 crew members tested positive for COVID-19, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley said.
The launch for the ship has been postponed from July 3 to July 31, Bayley said on Facebook. A simulation cruise set for June has also been rescheduled.
“During routine testing, eight crew members received a positive test result for COVID-19,” he wrote. “All 1,400 crew onboard Odyssey of the Seas were vaccinated on June 4th and will be considered fully vaccinated on June 18. The positive cases were identified after the vaccination was given and before they were fully effective.”
Six crew members are asymptomatic and two have mild symptoms, he said. As a precaution, all crew members will quarantine for 14 days.
“While disappointing, this is the right decision for the health and well-being of our crew and guests,” Bayley wrote. Guests will be contacted about refunds and rebookings.
The Odyssey of the Seas is a massive cruise ship with 16 total decks that can accommodate more than 5,400 guests.
Royal Caribbean announced earlier that their ships will sail in coming weeks from ports in Florida and Texas and that guests are encouraged but not required to get vaccinated. People 16 and over who are sailing to Alaska are required to be fully vaccinated. After Aug. 1, the age drops to 12.
Two passengers on the Celebrity Millennium cruise ship tested positive for COVID-19 during end-of-cruise testing on Thursday.
The two guests don’t have any symptoms and are in isolation. They’re being monitored by a medical team, Royal Caribbean Group said on Thursday. The two guests, who are from the U.S., shared a stateroom on the seven-day cruise from St. Maarten.