A thousand passengers already on board a “cruise to nowhere” that was meant to set sail that day were told their three-night vacation was canceled, following news that a crew member tested positive for COVID-19.
They disembarked the Spectrum of the Seas cruise, docked at Kai Tak Cruise Terminal, Thursday night.
The 40-year-old infected crew member arrived in Hong Kong in August and had tested negative for the virus over 10 times in the city, but results came back positive for a routine sample collected on Tuesday, according to a government statement.
“According to the pandemic prevention guidelines of the HKSAR Government, the voyage of the Spectrum of the Seas on October 21 has been cancelled,” Royal Caribbean, the luxury travel company that operates the cruise wrote in a Facebook post late Thursday.
The company added that passengers will receive a full refund.
The Spectrum of the Seas is touted by the Royal Caribbean as Asia’s “largest and most innovative ship.” The cruise offers experiences including a virtual reality bungee trampoline adventure and a surfing simulation.
Thursday’s cruise would have been the Spectrum of the Sea’s second sailing since cruise operations restarted in Hong Kong in July. The Royal Caribbean cruise was meant to depart that month, but had to delay plans to allow crew members—who come from various countries—to meet vaccination and quarantine requirements.
Health authorities will be in contact with concerned passengers and crew members on testing, medical surveillance and quarantine arrangements, the government statement said.