The push to get cruise ships back on the sea has hit some rough waters. Royal Caribbean said it would delay the first voyage on the new Odyssey of the Seas megaship from July 3 to July 31 after eight crew members contracted COVID-19. All 1,400 crew members have been quarantined, with the cruise line hoping to begin rebooking trips soon. “While disappointing, this is the right decision for the health and well-being of our crew and guests,” CEO Michael Bayley wrote in a statement on Facebook. All crew members had been vaccinated earlier this month, with the eight cases believed to have been contracted before the vaccines could take proper effect. Of the cases, six were asymptomatic while two displayed symptoms.
The test cruise was part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s trial voyages to help relaunch the cruise industry. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis has condemned the CDC’s involvement and guidelines, including its requirement that the majority of passengers be fully vaccinated.