Every passenger and crew member on a cruise ship in Norway have tested negative for Covid-19 after a case was confirmed on a previous sailing.
The news will come as a huge relief to the operator, Oslo-based SeaDream Yacht Club, as well as cruise enthusiasts concerned that a series of coronavirus incidents across multiple lines would further damage the industry and its fitful restart.
The voyage on SeaDream I was immediately cancelled on Tuesday – with the line citing “an abundance of caution for the decision – after it emerged that a previous passenger, a woman from Denmark, had tested positive for the virus.
She displayed no symptoms on the journey and disembarked in Tromsø, in northern Norway, on Sunday, August 2, before returning home. On arrival in Denmark she was diagnosed as suffering from Covid-19, although her travelling companion has tested negative. SeaDream has been contacting all passengers who sailed on the same trip.
After abruptly ending the current voyage, the vessel made its way to the port of Bodø, with all on board quarantined (apart from “essential crew members” needed to operate the ship), following guidelines from Norway’s Directorate of Health and Institute of Public Health.
SeaDream, the first operator to resume international ocean cruises since coronavirus forced the industry to shut down in March, said in a statement that had “gone above and beyond government guidelines to protect the safety of the crew, guests, and communities visited”.
It had previously confirmed that all crew members were quarantined in hotels for 10 days before boarding.
“We would like to thank the National Institute of Public Health and the Norwegian Directorate of Health as well as Bodø Municipality, led by Mayor Ida Maria Pinnerød, for their professionalism in this matter,” said Andreas Brynestad, the executive vice president of SeaDream.
He added that the incident has demonstrated “how Norway can respond so quickly and effectively in situations like this.”
In the last week four other lines have reported cases of coronavirus among passengers and crew.
Paul Gauguin Cruises had to return to port in the South Pacific and UnCruise, sailing off the coast of Alaska, had to turn back after one passenger on each test positive. Costa Cruises has also reported three cases of Covid-19 among crew members – however, unlike the others, the Italian line is not currently sailing customers, though is due to restart later this month.
The worst-hit has been Norwegian cruise line Hurtigruten, which has now seen at least 50 cases of the virus stemming from a journey on MS Roald Amundsen. The operator has apologised after it “uncovered several deviations” from health and safety procedures, and has begun an inquiry.
Earlier today Troms Police District confirmed they had “initiated an investigation of Hurtigruten to determine if the company or persons on board the ship MS Roald Amundsen was in violation of Norwegian law relating to control of communicable diseases.”
Hurtigruten has since suspended all sailings on MS Roald Amundsen, MS Fridtjof Nansen and MS Spitsbergen – including the round-Britain voyages planned for September.