| USA TODAY
Cruises may be shorter than ever in 2021, but trips are booking up now.
After an intense year of lockdowns, getting out there and seeing the world is in most people’s minds. Many cruise itineraries will be a week or less.
Six people who have been preparing Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas, for sea trials have tested positive for the coronavirus, Jonathon Fishman, spokesman for Royal Caribbean Group, confirmed to USA TODAY.
The ship is under construction in the Meyer Werft Shipyard in Papenburg, Germany. The team working there is preparing the ship for sea trials, Fishman said Monday. Sea trials are shakedown or test cruises, completed without paying passengers onboard, with the purpose of ensuring that everything is operating properly on a vessel before it makes its maiden voyage.
“As part of the stringent protocols put in place by the shipyard, all shipyard workers and crew members must receive a negative PCR test result before boarding,” Fishman said. “Once on board, the ship conducts daily testing. This process allowed Meyer Werft to detect any possible COVID-19 cases and take the necessary measures to contain the spread of the virus.”
Six shipyard workers tested positive and were quarantined on land “immediately.” As of Monday, there were no positive cases onboard Odyssey of the Seas, Fishman said.
Odyssey of the Seas is set to make its debut in May with departures from Israel with all passengers and crew over age 16 vaccinated, the “first cruise that will offer “fully vaccinated” sailings, according to the cruise line.
The ship originally was supposed to sail in Rome before heading to Florida in November. Its launch in Israel marks the first time the cruise line will have sailings departing from that country, according to Royal Caribbean.