Published on Monday, November 16, 2020

Passengers return from Covid cruise

All passengers on board the SeaDream 1 cruise ship have disembarked and flown home, according to UK passenger and British journalist Sue Bryant.

SeaDream Yacht Club's SeaDream 1 was the first Caribbean cruise to set sail since the pandemic. However its voyage quickly turned into a PR disaster after the a guest tested positive last Wednesday and the ship returned to Barbados.  

Of the 53 passengers and 66 crew on the SeaDream 1, a total of eight people later tested positive for Covid-19, despite all apparently returning a negative test prior to boarding on Saturday 7 November.

According to Sue, who is The Times and Sunday Times Cruise Editor, 10 passengers left last Friday. This included a group of six Californians, five of whom tested positive, a couple who tested positive and another couple who had booked a villa in Barbados, said Bryant. The Californians flew home by private jet, said Sue.

It's also understood that one crew member of SeaDream 1 tested positive and is staying in the isolation facility in Barbados.

The remaining passengers left on Saturday, having been given permission by the Barbados authorities to leave the ship, and were sent to the airport on an approved transfer.

While Sue praised the strictness of the cruise line and the authorities at the shoreside and at the airport, she criticised the handling of the boarding of the British Airways flight, calling it 'bizarre'.

"We had to take buses to a remote stand (daft, as the aircraft was easily within walking distance) and there was no social distancing on the buses, or the queues to get on them. I saw two people with masks hanging off their ears and one woman sipping a rum punch out of a plastic cup on our bus, no mask. I can't believe they let her carry that through the boarding pass check and onto the aircraft. BA needs to have words with its handling agent."

Sue's comments regarding the handling of the return flight with BA were echoed by fellow passengers, cruise bloggers 'Ben and David'.

They tweeted: "And people think cruise is bad which is ridiculous considering how much effort goes in! No social distancing, condensed lines, people knocking into us, masks around chins, crammed into airport trams like sardines! People not wearing masks on flight!"

A BA spokesperson said it had to follow airport policy in Barbados to use buses for boarding, but added: "We always expect the highest standards from our third party handling agents and are investigating the matter."

TravelMole has asked SeaDream for a comment.

By Louise Longman, Contributing Editor (UK)

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