Royal Caribbean shares tumble as 6 Covid cases discovered on board a ship, cruise line expands U.S. testing policy


In an aerial view, the Royal Caribbean Freedom of the Seas (L) prepares to set sail from Port Miami during the first U.S. trial cruise testing COVID-19 protocols on June 20, 2021 in Miami, Florida.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images

Royal Caribbean Cruises shares fell about 4% on Friday after six passengers on board its Adventure of the Seas ship tested positive for Covid-19.

The four of those guests were fully vaccinated and not traveling together. The cases were discovered during routine testing.

Three of the four fully-vaccinated passengers had no symptoms and the fourth passenger had mild symptoms, Royal Caribbean said in a statement. The two unvaccinated guests are minors traveling in the same party and are asymptomatic.

The six guests were immediately quarantined and their close contacts were identified and tested. They all tested negative, Royal Caribbean said.

“Each guest and their immediate travel parties are disembarking in Freeport, The Bahamas today, and separately traveling home via private transportation,” the cruise operator said.

When the cruise departed on Saturday from Nassau in the Bahamas, the guests were required to show proof of a negative PCR test. Unvaccinated minors were also required to take another test at check-in. Everyone had tested negative prior to boarding, according to a spokesperson for the company.

Due to the rapidly spreading delta coronavirus variant, the cruise line will be expanding its test procedures for cruises departing from the U.S. that are five nights or longer. Passengers will be required to have a negative test before they board ships, said CEO Michael Bayley in a Facebook post. He added, the tests can be taken within 3 days of embarkation. The new policy will be in place from July 31 to Aug. 31.

“Even with the vast majority of our onboard population highly vaccinated we are seeing more covid positive cases with vaccinated guests,” Bayley said, in the post. “The Delta variant is now spreading rapidly with over 92,000 new infections yesterday alone in the USA and in Florida one of the industry’s major markets there were over 17,000 cases yesterday.”

“We realize this will not make many guests happy just as it will comfort many guests. We are trying our very best to provide a safe and healthy and fun vacation for all our guests our crew and the communities we visit during these challenging times,” Bayley said.

The stock closed down 3.9% at $76.87. Shares are up nearly 3% since the start of the year, bringing the company’s market value to $19.57 billion.

This article was originally published on CNBC