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Royal Caribbean says no change to sailing plans despite Covid cases on Celebrity ship

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In an aerial view, the Explorer of the Seas (front), a Royal Caribbean cruise ship, is docked with other cruise lines in Port Miami as the cruise industry waits to launch on Aug.

Joe Raedle | Getty Images News | Getty Images

Royal Caribbean Cruises said Friday that it is not changing its sailing plans this summer, despite two positive Covid-19 cases reported on board its cruise ship Celebrity Millennium on Thursday.

The two guests who tested positive during the tests at the end of the cruise were asymptomatic and were isolated. On Friday, Royal Caribbean announced that everyone in close contact with the two guests had tested negative for the virus.

The discovery of the cases is an early test of whether the cruise company’s security protocols are effective in detecting the virus on board the ship.

The Celebrity Millennium, which departed from St. Maarten on Saturday, was one of the first North American cruises to resume sailing after being at dock for over a year. The company’s first departure from a port in the United States will be the Celebrity Edge, departing from Fort Lauderdale, Florida on June 26th.

The Celebrity Millennium has a fully vaccinated crew and all guests 16 and over must provide proof of vaccination and a negative Covid-19 test within 72 hours of departure. There were also routine tests in each port during the week-long cruise.

The ship will anchor in a port in St. Maarten on Saturday.

The company’s stock lost less than 1% on Friday. It’s up 20% this year for a market cap of nearly $ 23 billion.

A passenger on board the ship told CNBC that the mood on board the ship had not changed and normal activities continued.

The cruise industry is among the last sectors to resume operations since the pandemic. There have been several high profile outbreaks on board cruise lines over the past year.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention have allowed ships to sail again this year after putting very strict safety protocols and requirements in place to prevent the virus from spreading.

– CNBC’s Seema Mody contributed to this report.

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Katherine Clark