Story at a glance

  • Two passengers tested positive for COVID-19 aboard a cruise ship traveling from the U.S. to St. Martin.
  • This is the first instance of COVID-19 on a cruise ship in 2021.
  • Cruises were among the first hot spots for high levels of COVID-19 transmission.

Two passengers aboard a cruise ship tested positive for COVID-19, the first instances of infection aboard cruise ships in 2021.

The passengers were aboard a Celebrity Millennium cruise ship bound for the Caribbean island St. Martin. ABC reports that all crew and adult passengers were required to show proof of full vaccination and a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding.

"The individuals are asymptomatic and currently in isolation and being monitored by our medical team," the cruise line said in a statement. "We are conducting contact tracing, expediting testing for all close contacts and closely monitoring the situation."

Both passengers who tested positive will remain in St. Martin until they provide a negative COVID-19 test, at which point the cruise line will help make accommodations to bring them home.


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Celebrity’s Millennium model cruise ship usually holds about 20,000 passengers, but is operating at 30 percent capacity as the industry gradually rebounds with improved vaccination.

Masks are not required on board, but proof of vaccination is for passengers 16 years of age and older. 

The company also notes that as part of its COVID-19 health policy, all passengers must submit a health questionnaire. Depending on the requirements of each home port country, free testing is available onboard.

Cruise ships were a hot spot for COVID-19 outbreaks at the onset of the pandemic, with some of the first American infections occurring aboard the Diamond Princess cruise docked in Japan. 

Due to the close proximity of passengers, the cruise industry, like other travel businesses, was essentially shut down for most of 2020 in a bid to reduce transmission of the virus. 

In recent months, as vaccines are more widely circulated, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has gradually relaxed restrictions surrounding cruises.  


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Published on Jun 11, 2021