Shortly after noon, travel writer Gene Sloan, the Points Guy, reported that a guest aboard the SeaDream 1 cruise ship had a COVID fear in his article The First Cruise Ship To Resume Sailing in the Caribbean. He explained that:
“A passenger on SeaDream 1 of the SeaDream Yacht Club has provisionally tested positive for COVID-19, announced the ship’s captain, Torbjorn Lund, at a ship-wide intercom address shortly after noon on Wednesday. Lund asked all passengers to return to their cabins where they would be isolated. An unnecessary crew would also isolate themselves immediately, he said. “
According to the captain, Mr Sloan wrote: “The passenger tested had felt ill before the test.” The captain further explained that the results of the rapid test were positive and that the cruise ship “works under the assumption that it has one or more COVID patients on board”.
BREAKING: The first #cruise ship to resume sailing in the #Caribbean (which I sail on) has a #covid fear. Here’s everything we know right now: https://t.co/LeKR0ybwaQ
– Gene Sloan (@CruiseLog) November 11, 2020
This particular trip, which Mr. Sloan and other travel writers described as the safe “bubble” of a cruise, was a controversial one from the start. Mr. Sloan took photos of the crew without a mask. I called the lack of a mask policy “stupid” and a “recipe for disaster”. CruiseRadio was the first cruise blogger to suggest that SeaDream’s no-mask policy was “irresponsible”.
“Company representatives say masks do not have to be worn on the yacht thanks to extensive pre-departure testing that is said to produce negative ‘bubbles’.” Wow. Far too many false negatives for this to work. Foolish. Another recipe for disaster via @SeaDreamYC # COVID19 #cruise https://t.co/Iw6RSj250a
– James (Jim) Walker (@CruiseLaw) November 6, 2020
No matter what you believe, wearing it without a mask isn’t the best example. Irresponsible. The CDC monitors every move in the cruise industry, US sailors or not. #cruise https://t.co/4Wd3hsuDEs
– Doug Parker (@CruiseRadio) November 7, 2020
In an article by SeaDream Yacht Clubs titled “Anti-Mask Policy”, I wrote that SeaDream ignores basic health and safety protocols and common sense. Up to 20 travel writers, cruise bloggers and popular travel agents commented on Cruise Radio’s contribution, including the Cruise Guy (“Must be kidding! EVERYONE on #Cruise Ship should wear masks! . . . @ SeaDreamYC not mandatory cruise Passengers and crew wearing a mask right now are ridiculous! Come on man! “). I asked on Twitter,” How long does it take to get a # COVID-19 Outbreak?”
SeaDream then changed course and introduced a mask policy (see photo on the right). Apparently, some passengers on board the ship said to Mr. Sloan, “They signed up specifically for this trip because they were told they didn’t need to wear a mask and they said they would not have made the trip if they had done it was known that a requirement to wear a mask would come. “
But some popular bloggers like Cruise with Ben & David, who also took part in the press cruise, still praised SeaDream for being “so, so safe!” while other cruise fans accused “outside pressure” of “bad outsiders” of forcing SeaDream to pass a policy requiring masks.
There are many people and press comments out there who have no idea what strict protocols SeaDream has put in place to protect us. I should imagine this was implemented due to the external pressure as we feel so safe!
– Cruise with Ben & David (@CruiseWithBD) November 10, 2020
Given the news that a guest tested positive for COVID-19, several well-known bloggers have already quickly raised the obvious question today. Did the lack of a mask policy (until yesterday), given that COVID-19 is a deadly virus in the air, lead to this predictable unfortunate outcome?
I’d say I’m shocked, but … You defended and posted no-masks on board three days ago. ???? #cruise https://t.co/F6lglU8Nku
– Doug Parker (@CruiseRadio) November 11, 2020
Despite all the precautionary measures taken by @SeaDreamYC, it was confirmed after the 3rd PCR test that a #cruise passenger was tested positive for coronavirus. Would the mask requirements have made a difference in the beginning? https://t.co/7bjruLrqYE
– Stewart Chiron (@CruiseGuy) November 11, 2020
It remains possible or natural that the guest’s test today led to a false positive result. However, the SeaDream 1 is now returning to Barbados, ending what was originally advertised as a “turning point” for the cruise industry. The other guests (and crew members) will no doubt now be retested.
Travel writer Dave Monk, who wrote for the Telegraph, said SeaDream Vice President Andreas Brynestad was initially “confused” by the “fuss” about face masks. Another travel writer, Sue Bryant, who was invited to the press cruise, tweeted earlier on the cruise that she was very impressed with SeaDream’s health protocols which allegedly produced a “Happy Bubble Cruise”. One follower responded with the obvious remark that driving with or without a mask remains dangerous during a pandemic.
I’m with SeaDream I and I am very impressed with the health logs. Under other circumstances, I would be the first to wear a mask, but we’ve all had multiple tests + are very socially distant + are temperature tested at least once a day. On land in Barbados, everyone wore a mask
– Sue Bryant (@sjbryant) November 9, 2020
Why is it not surprising that there was no mask on board until yesterday.
– Sorry, but pretty inevitable.
– this will reset everything … when will it sink in? THERE’S A PANDEMIC OUT THERE …
– David Thomas (@djthomashome) November 11, 2020
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Photo credit: SeaDream I – Gordon Leggett – Wikimedia Commons, CC BY-SA 4.0; SeaDream 1 crew with masks – Gene Sloan