False positive Covid-19 test forces Spectrum of the Seas to cancel cruise after one crew member is suspected to have the virus during routine testing

Oct 22, 2021

Spectrum of the Seas ‘Ocean Getaway’ cruise-to-nowhere scheduled for October 21, from Hong Kong was canceled late on Thursday after one crew member onboard was suspected to have COVID-19 during routine testing. The crew member is a 40-year-old man who was fully vaccinated in April and May 2021, reports Singapore Cruise Society website. Royal Caribbean said that the test taken by this crew member on October 19th came back positive, with a low viral load for Covid-19. Under the strict health and safety measures by the Hong Kong Department of Health the crew member, who is asymptomatic, is now classified as a re-positive overseas case.

Hong Kong authorities prevented Spectrum of the Seas departing from Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, after 1,000 passengers of 1,200 booked to sail, already boarded the vessel before the four-night cruise was canceled.

Royal Caribbean International has informed passengers booked on Spectrum of the Seas October 21 cruise about the cancelation. A copy of the letter sent to guests explaining the current investigation and compensation for the canceled cruise was shared by SCS.

On October 21, Royal Caribbean released the following letter saying that the company conducts frequent health monitoring for its crew members. "During routine testing today, one crew member had suspicious result and confirmed positive for Covid-19 asymptomatic case in second test. This crew worked in back-office and had no contact with guests. All 1250 crew members on Spectrum of the Seas have completed the required vaccination, passed PCR test and relevant health screening before boarding, and boarded the ship with negative results.

The crew member who is asymptomatic was immediately quarantined and is being closely monitored by our medical team. According to the guidelines of the HKSAR government, for your health and safety, Spectrum of the Seas sailing on October 21 will be canceled. All guests can get back home on your own. We are deeply sorry for the inconvenience caused."

Royal Caribbean will provide the following compensation offering to guests impacted by this:

- Free cancelation, 100% refund on paid cruise fare and taxes&fees

- Transportation subsidy of HK $100 per guest.

- An extra Future Cruise Credit to use on your next choice of Spectrum cruise-to nowhere.” 

Today, October 22, Royal Caribbean released a second statement that the crew member proved to be false positive after he was again tested in a public hospital in accordance with the rules and regulations by the Hong Kong Department of Health. The latest test results are negative, he is not infected, Royal Caribbean said. In spite of the latest test results, the Hong Kong authorities still define the test results as positive.

Since the restart of cruising in Hong Kong, Royal Caribbean have been closely cooperating with Hong Kong’s health authorities, following the local epidemic prevention policies and regulations. In accordance with existing Hong Kong health and safety measures, the cruise line requires all crew members and guests over 12 years of age to be fully vaccinated aginst COVID-19, at least 14 days prior to boarding, and to undergo nucleic acid testing.