SeaDream Yacht Club has devised a tentative plan to resume cruising in the Caribbean on Nov. 8 to islands that are open to tourism.
Still, U.S. travelers would likely have to take three COVID-19 tests before boarding, SeaDream executives said in a Zoom webinar Sept. 3.
The company has operated a successful short season in Norway for Scandinavian passengers. The company emerged unscathed by COVID-19, although there was a scare when a passenger tested positive after he returned home to Denmark (later, it was determined it was a false positive). The passengers and crew who were on SeaDream I all subsequently tested negative.
Emilio R. Freeman, vice president-destinations and revenue management at SeaDream, said the company is looking at seven-day roundtrips from Barbados to destinations in Grenada and St. Vincent & The Grenadines.
SeaDream, which operates two 112-passenger ships, wants to go places that are already open and off the beaten path where big cruise ships don’t go, Freeman said.
“We’re looking at this little bubble within the Caribbean,” he said, with plenty of activity for watersports as well as beachy spots for the line’s signature Caviar and Champagne Splash.
As for testing, the executives said it is likely that guests – especially those from the U.S. and other high-risk places – would need to arrive in Barbados with proof of a negative test result within the past 72 hours, and then get tested again at the airport. SeaDream would test again before boarding. The company said its rapid-result testing can test 50 people in an hour.
Once onboard, temperatures will be checked daily. SeaDream executive Andreas Brynestad noted that each cabin has its own supply of fresh air and that the air doesn’t recirculate.
When asked if passengers would be able to explore on their own – and not be required to take vetted shore excursions as required by MSC Cruises and Costa Cruises in Europe – Freeman said “at this stage we have not been asked to coordinate SeaDream-only activities ashore. As you know, a lot of people like to go off and do their own exploring, so we will probably continue with that at this stage.”
Even if U.S. residents are still considered high-risk when cruising does resume, Brynestad said the company could operate successfully without Americans onboard. He said there are direct flights from the U.K. to Barbados.
SeaDream President Bob Lepisto highlighted the company’s “Ultimate Booking Assurance,” which allows for a full refund or 120 percent future cruise credit for cancellations forced by travel restrictions until the day of departure through June 30, 2021. If there are no travel restrictions, guests can cancel anyway and the company will move their funds to a future date.
“We want you to have the ultimate booking assurance in making future plans with SeaDream,” he said.
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