Passenger tested positive for COVID-19 on my cruise, here’s how the cruise line is protecting us
I am currently on Viking’s third sailing around Iceland since they resumed cruises in the area just a few weeks ago. The cruise is one of the cruise line’s “Welcome to the World” cruises and will visit six ports around Iceland on the cruise.
Since the Icelandic volcano started erupting last March, I have watched the livestream on YouTube every day wishing I could visit it. When Viking contacted me to invite me to sail Viking Sky, I just had to say yes.
This is my second cruise since reopening cruises to Americans just a month ago. Even though the ship is operating at around 80% occupancy, Viking takes security to another level with a lot more safety precautions than my previous cruise just a few weeks ago (on another cruise line).
As recently as today, we learned that a passenger on board Viking Sky had tested positive for COVID-19. The passenger is asymptomatic and is currently isolated. They will remain isolated until the end of the cruise where they will disembark and stay in a hotel for the quarantine.
All other passengers on the ship tested negative this morning.
We were unable to disembark at our stopover today (Seydisfjordur), but the cruise is expected to complete the other port visits.
Here are the different ways Viking keeps guests safe on their ocean-going vessels even when a passenger tests positive for COVID-19.
100% vaccinated cruises – All crew members have been vaccinated against COVID-19 as well as all guests. This is possible because Viking does not allow passengers under the age of 18 to navigate their ships. Everyone on board is vaccinated.
Daily COVID-19 Tests – Test ! Trial! Trial! Each passenger was tested shortly after boarding and is also tested each morning. The tests are done using “pin tubes” so you don’t need a swab stuffed into your nose every day. Each morning you simply spit into a tube and your room attendant collects it so it can be tested in the ship’s lab.
It’s extremely simple and doesn’t take a long time from your cruise. Viking is the only cruise line to have a full-scale PCR lab installed on its cruise ships. This allows them to test everyone on the ship every day.
Since Viking runs daily tests, they expect to have positive cases from time to time. The protocols listed in this article are designed to stop a potential chain of transmission.
Daily temperature checks – At the entrance to the World Café, the Restaurant, and at customer service, tablets are set up to take your temperature. You scan your key card, the tablet takes a photo of your face, and then displays your body temperature. They ask all passengers to do this at least once a day.
UV cleaning robots – At night, UV cleaning robots clean the common parts of the ship.
Contacts search – All guests are required to carry a contact tracer with them. Don’t worry, this device does not follow you around the ship. Here is what he does.
If you test positive for COVID-19 in any of the daily tests, then the ship can see who you have been in contact with so they can be quarantined and tested again. The goal is to prevent an outbreak from spreading on the ship and it’s a good way to isolate any potential infected passengers.
After the passenger on board tested positive on my cruise, the contact tracing was activated and the ship was able to test everyone who was in close contact with them. (They all tested negative)
Masks required – Masks are mandatory whenever you are not in your room or when you do not eat / drink. Masks should also not be worn in swimming pools, hot tubs, fitness center or spa.
All guests are also required to wear masks on shore excursions. Viking is taking a cautious approach to resuming cruises.
All crew members wear a mask at all times.
Social distancing – Many lounge chairs and chairs are closed to allow for social distancing. In addition, reservations are required to use the fitness center and the amazing free thermal suite. This prevents these areas from being crowded and allows for good social distancing (since masks are not used there).
No self-service buffet – The World Cafe, the buffet aboard Viking Ocean ships, is open but the crew prepares the food for you. It is open for breakfast, lunch and dinner.
Daily health survey – Every day, all passengers complete a short health survey on the app. The questions ask if you have symptoms of the flu, fever, etc.
These protocols allow Viking to operate at a higher capacity than other cruise lines. While some may feel that Viking is going a little too far with all of these health protocols, they are erring on the side of caution.
These Viking protocols are proving effective after the positive case was announced on our vessel today. All other passengers tested negative on each day of the cruise.
Like I said earlier, Viking expects to have a positive case here and there since they test everyone on a daily basis. These protocols are in place to prevent the spread of cases so everyone can continue to enjoy their cruise.
What is life on the ship like now that we’ve had a case of COVID-19? While we are still moored at the port (no one is allowed to get off), we spend a “day at sea”. Life around the ship is pretty much what you would expect on another day.
The atmosphere aboard the ship is upbeat and everyone seems to be enjoying our day on the ship. Guests play UNO, read books, enjoy time in pools and hot tubs, and even take a nap on this expansive harbor route. Some are even on the decks with umbrellas to take in the incredible view of the fjord on this rainy day.
I will update this article if more information is available for this cruise. We have two other port stops and at the moment we are still planning to visit them.
Viking works with Iceland Public Health to ensure the safety of guests on board the ship as well as those in the communities we visit.