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Dec. 23 update: Royal's Odyssey misses ports, Zuiderdam starts at San Diego, Explorer Dream to resume in Taiwan

All those testing positive on Odyssey of the Seas are vaccinated and mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic, Royal Caribbean said
Here's a quick read of some of today’s coronavirus-related cruise news. This is being updated throughout the day.

Odyssey of the Seas misses Aruba and Curaçao

With 55 COVID cases, or 1.1% of the shipboard population, Odyssey of the Seas' visits to Aruba and Curaçao were canceled and the rest of the cruise will consist solely of sea days.

The ship sailed Dec. 18 from Port Everglades on an eight-night voyage that is to return on schedule Dec. 26.

Royal Caribbean International said the decision to skip the ports was made together with the islands 'out of an abundance of caution due to the current trend of COVID-19 cases in the destinations’ communities as well as crew and guests testing positive on board.'

The cruise sailed with 95% of the on-board community fully vaccinated. Everyone who tested positive is fully vaccinated and mildly symptomatic or asymptomatic, according to the line.

'We continue to monitor their health. Close contacts were also identified and placed in quarantine to be monitored for 24 hours prior to testing,' Royal Caribbean said.

Royal Caribbean protocols applicable to sailings from Florida include pre-cruise testing for all passengers and weekly testing of all crew members, required vaccinations for everyone 12 and older and masks indoors, except while eating or drinking, regardless of vaccination status.

Odyssey of the Seas called at private island Perfect Day at CocoCay Dec. 19.


Explorer Dream will once again offer short domestic cruises from Keelung

Explorer Dream to resume in Taiwan

Dream Cruises will resume Taiwan service with Explorer Dream Dec. 31 from Keelung. This follows a hiatus since Taiwan's COVID-19 outbreak in May.

The ship will once again carry passengers on two- and three-night cruises to domestic destinations including Hualien, Anping and Kaoshiung.

All crew and passengers must be fully vaccinated (some age exemptions apply) and all passengers will have to present a negative PCR test taken within 48 before embarkation. During the initial restart, ship capacity will be reduced and it will be mandatory for all cruisers to download the ‘Taiwan Social Distance’ app and to turn-on their Bluetooth at the cruise terminal and on the ship.

From July 2020 to May 2021, Explorer Dream carried more than 90,000 passengers from Taiwan.

'Since we suspended operations in May, Dream Cruises has been working with the Taiwan authorities to plan on the safe restart of cruises and to revisit our health and hygiene guidelines and protocols to ensure the safest environment for both guests and crew,' said Kent Zhu, president, Genting Cruise Lines. 'We are proud to have been the first cruise company to resume cruises in Taiwan, Singapore and Hong Kong and of our stellar record of no COVID-19-related incidents in Taiwan since Explorer Dream first began operations in July 2020.'


Zuiderdam became the second HAL ship to resume sailing from San Diego

Zuiderdam starts sailing from San Diego

Zuiderdam returned to service today at San Diego, the second Holland America Line ship to resume service from the California port since cruising's shutdown.

Crew jingled sleighbells and Santa Claus and his elves were on hand to open embarkation and welcome passengers back. Zuiderdam joins Koningsdam, which resumed service in San Diego Oct. 10.

Holland America Line now has six ships carrying passengers in the Caribbean, Mexico and along the Pacific Coast of the US.

Zuiderdam’s first cruise is a 10-day 'Mexico and Sea of Cortez' sailing that will be followed by Panama Canal transits and a 35-day South Pacific odyssey.