On Thursday, two guests aboard Celebrity Millennium tested positive for COVID-19. The recently refurbished Celebrity Millennium is the first “big ship” to sail from North America since the start of the coronavirus pandemic effectively shut down the cruise industry last March. The ship is sailing round-trip form St. Maarten, with stops at Barbados, Aruba and Curacao. There are, at most, 900 passengers on board (normally, the capacity is 1,800 but the cruise line is sailing with reduced capacity).
“Today (Thursday, June 10), two guests sharing a stateroom onboard Celebrity Millennium tested positive for COVID-19 while conducting the required end of cruise testing,” Celebrity Cruises said in a statement. “The individuals are asymptomatic and currently in isolation and being monitored by our medical team. We are conducting contact tracing, expediting testing for all close contacts and closely monitoring the situation.
“Celebrity Millennium is sailing with fully vaccinated crew and guests and following comprehensive protocols that align with our destination partners and exceed CDC guidelines to protect the health and safety of our guests. All guests on Celebrity Millennium were required to show proof of vaccination as well as a negative COVID-19 test within 72 hours before sailing from St. Maarten this past Saturday. This situation demonstrates that our rigorous health and safety protocols work to protect our crew, guests and the communities we visit.”
Travel Agent is on the ship, and we can say the ship vibe seems pretty normal—there’s no panic and still has an upbeat mood. In fact, passengers are out and about doing normal activities on a sea day. They are talking about the situation but aren’t overly worried about exposure given that they are vaccinated. People are chatting, laughing and having fun—of course, so were the two folks who tested positive yesterday.
The two guests who tested positive are in isolation in an area of the ship apart from other guest accommodations. Contact tracing is underway, and those passengers will go into isolation until they receive a negative test; then they may leave.
One travel advisor told us she’s not personally that concerned but is more concerned about “the perception” among her clients when they see the news. One guest who showed up for his test (as required for re-entry to the U.S. following the cruise) blamed the media onboard for blowing this out of proportion, noting that the percentage of the two positives is so small compared to the total number of people on board, including crew and guests.
The feeling of many guests onboard is that COVID is with us for good and one has to deal with it. People are additionally saying that the two positives could have been exposed on the airplane, for example; cruise ships are held to a higher standard than most theme parks, hotels, malls and airplanes.