Royal Caribbean ‘Cruise to Nowhere’ Turns Around After Positive —

A “cruise to nowhere” has returned to its launch dock after an 83-year-old passenger tested positive — and then negative — for COVID-19.

© Provided by People ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas

The Associated Press reported on Wednesday that the man first tested negative for the virus before boarding Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas in Singapore, but tested positive after experiencing gastrointestinal symptoms and going to the onboard medical center, prompting the ship’s crew to turn around on day three of the four-day excursion.

A second analysis of the passenger’s test sample after the ship docked in its original location came back negative — as did another follow-up test. According to the AP, Singapore’s health ministry said they would test the man again on Thursday to confirm his negative status.

The AP reports that the Singapore Tourism Board‘s Director of Cruise Annie Chang said those close to the man were isolated after his positive result and all tested negative. Chung also noted that all activities onboard the ship ceased at that time, passengers and crew were asked to stay in their cabins throughout the contact-tracing process and they would be subject to mandatory testing before departing the terminal upon their arrival back in Singapore.

© ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas

“They are being given regular updates and meals are provided directly to their rooms,” Chang said of the people on board the ship (1,680 guests and 1,148 crew members, according to The Singapore Straits Times). “The well-being and safety of our local community, as well as passengers and crew remain a top priority.”

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© Provided by People Chung Sung-Jun/Getty COVID-19 testing kit

RELATED: 3 Major Cruise Lines Cancel Operations Until the New Year amid New CDC Order

In North America, cruise companies halted all sailings in the Caribbean last spring as the pandemic took hold in the region. Individual countries enacted stringent travel restrictions, and the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued a “no-sail order.”

The CDC’s initial no-sail order was put in place on March 14 and intended to last 30 days. At the time, several cruise ships across the world had become sources of major coronavirus outbreaks.

Last month, a number of passengers tested positive for COVID-19 aboard the first cruise ship to return to sailing in the Caribbean since the beginning of the pandemic, according to the Points Guy reporter Gene Sloan, who was on the boat.

After a single positive case was identified on Nov. 11, the SeaDream Yacht Club ship SeaDream 1 cut its planned seven-day voyage short and had returned to its home port in Barbados by that night.

In a statement shared with PEOPLE, the cruise company acknowledged there were multiple cases but did not disclose a number, noting, “SeaDream I has paused its current Caribbean voyage and returned to Barbados after guests’ tests for COVID-19 returned assumptive positive results.”

© Provided by People ROSLAN RAHMAN/AFP via Getty Royal Caribbean’s Quantum of the Seas

RELATED VIDEO: Passenger Aboard First Cruise Ship to Return to Sailing in Caribbean Tests Positive for COVID-19

Also in November, more than 100,000 people had signed up to take part in Royal Caribbean’s test sailings just days after the cruise line put out a call for volunteers.

Royal Caribbean, which plans to run simulated trial sailings as part of the CDC’s requirements to begin “phased resumption” of sailing, asked eager cruisers to fill out a form online to show their interest, which Royal Caribbean set up alongside its “Volunteers of the Seas” Facebook group the previous week.

“And just like that … 100,000 people have volunteered. We can’t wait to start this next phase with you all!” Michael Bayley, Royal Caribbean’s president and CEO, wrote on Facebook.

These simulated sailings may look like a typical cruise on the surface (including testing out shore excursions on private islands), but will also include COVID-19 quarantine drills as well as standard muster drills, Cruise Critic reported. Volunteers must be at least 18 years old and show a medical certificate, Royal Caribbean confirmed to Travel + Leisure.

When ocean cruising does return to the U.S., it will come with a stringent set of protocols in place, including requiring all passengers be tested before embarking.

As information about the coronavirus pandemic rapidly changes, PEOPLE is committed to providing the most recent data in our coverage. Some of the information in this story may have changed after publication. For the latest on COVID-19, readers are encouraged to use online resources from the WHO and local public health departments. PEOPLE has partnered with GoFundMe to raise money for the COVID-19 Relief Fund, a fundraiser to support everything from frontline responders to families in need, as well as organizations helping communities. For more information or to donate, click here.


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