Royal Caribbean’s Spectrum of the Seas has found itself docking in limbo with 2,500 passengers on board after a COVID-19 outbreak was detected among a group of passengers who encountered flight attendants partying on a layover before beginning their vacation.
The cruise-ship cluster is said to be tied to a group of Cathay Pacific flight attendants who violated isolation regulations and went out partying on a layover in Hong Kong after flying in from the United States. A 28-year-old flight attendant who tested positive for COVID-19 and then was identified as having the Omicron variant, danced with a soon-to-be Royal Caribbean passenger at a nightclub that boarded on Sunday. Another member’s of the passenger’s household separately tested positive for the virus, according to the South China Morning Post. The passenger and eight others with whom he spent time on the cruise are in isolation waiting for PCR tests.
Hong Kong leader Carrie Lam announced new COVID restrictions, including a two-week ban on flights from the U.S., closed bars, nightclubs and other venues for at least 14 days, and canceled all future cruise-ship departures. Spectrum of the Seas has now canceled its next departures from Hong Kong. Royal Caribbean International will reimburse passengers 25 percent of their ticket for the curtailed cruise and those who were supposed to embark on the now quarantined ship on will receive full fare refunds.