Royal Caribbean’s newest ship stuck in port after workers catch COVID-19

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The ship was getting ready for planned sea trials, but will now have to remain docked with its estimated 500 crew and workers forced to stay on board.

Royal Caribbean's new ship, which will sail from Israel for the first time in May. (photo credit: Courtesy)

Royal Caribbean’s new ship, which will sail from Israel for the first time in May.

(photo credit: Courtesy)

Two workers on Royal Caribbean International’s newest cruise ship, Odyssey of the Seas, have tested positive for coronavirus, forcing the ship to remain docked at Bremerhaven, Germany, according to German media.

The ship was getting ready for planned sea trials, but will now have to remain docked with its estimated 500 crew and workers forced to stay on board.

This comes following reports that the Odyssey of the Seas would start sailing from Haifa in May, with tickers set to go on sale March 9. Israelis were also set to be the first guests on the cruise ship.

Both the guests and entirety of the crew will be vaccinated during these trips, a first for a cruise line.

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“Royal Caribbean believes this will be a profitable venture and a first test for the recovering travel industry,” a company spokesman said at the time. “While we are not sure what the next steps will be in Europe and elsewhere, we see Israel’s vaccination success as an opportunity to offer services to a country we have had our sights on for quite some time.”

Prime Minister Benjamin Netanyahu welcomed the announcement as a confirmation of Israel’s vaccination policies.

“This is an important economic, tourist and branding event for the State of Israel,” he said at the time.

“Just as we made Israel the world champion in vaccines, we will make it the world champion in economics and tourism in the post-corona era.”

However, it is currently unclear if the ongoing situation will delay the timeline for the anticipated launch.

Zev Stub contributed to this report.

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