LAKE MARY, Fla. - A passenger aboard Royal Caribbean’s Celebrity Millennium ship said he has no regrets about taking the cruise after two passengers onboard tested positive for coronavirus.
On Thursday, Royal Caribbean said two passengers sharing the same stateroom tested positive during end-of-cruise testing. They were both asymptomatic.
Cruise industry expert Steward Chiron, also known as "The Cruise Guy," is one of around 600 passengers on the first major cruise through the Caribbean in 15 months. He said he was surprised to learn about the positive cases.
"[I] was a little disappointed considering the level of procedures and protocols that we all undertook and the safety measures that everybody took," Chiron said.
He said staff told him seven other people were on the same tour boat as the COVID-positive passengers in Barbados. They were quarantined and tested negative for the virus.
Chiron said the cruise line’s safety measures and protocols worked. Passengers were vaccinated before the cruise and the cases were discovered during the required testing before passengers can fly back to the U.S.
He believes the cruise line did everything right.
"Unfortunately, it's part of our lives right now to deal with this, but we've taken every protective measure that we could to ensure that we and others are as safe as possible."
He said passengers did not seem concerned about the COVID cases on board the ship and did not wear masks after the announcement.
"I can tell you, life last night was normal, dinners in the various restaurants, the shows [and] the entertainment, the lounges continued."
Chiron said he has felt safe on the seven-day cruise from Saint Marteen. He said the vaccinated crew always wore masks and served food at the buffet. He said there was plenty of personal protective equipment, hand-washing stations and hand sanitizer throughout the ship
He also said passengers had to follow strict guidelines if they ever got off the ship at ports of call.
"In Barbados, everybody had to wear masks and the tours that they took had to be the ones provided by the cruise line. If you deviate[d] from those tours, you risk be the possibility of not being allowed back on board the ship."
Chiron does not think the COVID cases will negatively impact the cruise industry as more cruise lines look to restart cruising soon.
"These initial sailings are very important to be able to get the data to test these new protocols [and] make adjustments."
Chiron said he is already booked to take another cruise in a couple weeks.