6 workers on Royal Caribbean's new ship test positive for COVID-19

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The launch of Royal Caribbean’s newest ship is off to a choppy start.

Six workers on the Odyssey of the Seas cruise liner, which is currently under construction in Germany ahead of its first “fully vaccinated” maiden voyage in May, have recently tested positive for COVID-19 and were quarantined immediately, according to Royal Caribbean.

As a precaution, approximately 1,000 other workers were briefly required to remain on the ship at the Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenburg, according to Germany’s NDR news outlet. The workers have since been allowed to disembark.

The Odyssey of the Seas, pictured, is scheduled to depart from Israel in May as the first "fully vaccinated" cruise amid the global pandemic, Royal Caribbean says.
(Royal Caribbean)

News of the cases follows a similar incident last week, when two workers on the Odyssey of the Seas tested positive for COVID-19. The six new cases were regarded as “contact persons” of the first two cases, according to NDR.

Royal Caribbean spokesperson Jonathan Fishman said the workers were preparing the ship for sea trials ahead of its maiden voyage.

“As part of the stringent protocols put in place by the shipyard, all shipyard workers and crew members must receive a negative PCR test result before boarding,” said Fishman in a statement obtained by USA Today. “Once on board, the ship conducts daily testing. This process allowed Meyer Werft to detect any possible COVID-19 cases and take the necessary measures to contain the spread of the virus.”

The COVID-19-positive workers are currently isolating on land, USA Today reported.

A representative for the cruise line did not immediately return a request for information as to how these cases may affect the ship’s timeline for sea trials, if at all.

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The Odyssey of the Seas, meanwhile, is preparing for what Royal Caribbean says is the first “fully vaccinated” cruise amid the current  pandemic.

“In conjunction with Israel’s health and tourism authorities, Royal Caribbean will be the first to offer fully vaccinated sailings, where both crew and guests above the age of 16 will be vaccinated against COVID-19,” Royal Caribbean said in a news release announcing the cruise. “Details on the additional health and safety measures to be implemented by Israel and Royal Caribbean will be announced at a later date.”

Scheduled to leave from Israel in May, the brand-new Odyssey is set to sail from Haifa for three to seven-night tours of the Greek Isles and Cyprus.

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Janine Puhak contributed to this report.

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