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Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas, makes brief return to port due to COVID

A Royal Caribbean International ship, Odyssey of the Seas, returned to port to disembark a passenger with COVID-19 one day after initially departing from Fort Lauderdale, Lyan Sierra-Caro, spokesperson for Royal Caribbean, told USA TODAY Monday.

The cruise had set out Saturday on an eight-night itinerary from Florida before returning Sunday. “The guest, who was symptomatic prior to boarding but did not notify us, reported to the medical center and subsequently tested positive for COVID-19,” Sierra-Caro said. “He and his close contacts were quarantined and disembarked in Ft. Lauderdale to return home.”

The passenger and hisfamily disembarked. Sierra-Caro said there were “no additional close contacts.” Shortly after, the ship went back to sea and resumed its itinerary. On Monday night, the ship was en route to Curacao, according to Cruise Mapper, a website that tracks cruise ship locations across the globe.

The decision to return to port, Sierra-Caro said, was “less about turning back and more about the best way to mobilize our guests.” It was the quickest option for the ship to return to Fort Lauderdale. Odyssey of the Seas is currently yellow status and under investigation by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, according to the health agency’s website.

The CDC told USA TODAY early Tuesday in a statement that the health agency is aware of the recent disembarkation of a passenger who tested positive for COVID-19 from Odyssey of the Seas. “This is a routine protocol for COVID-19 positive passengers, regardless of symptom status, on board RCI cruise ships,” the CDC said in a statement provided by spokesperson David Daigle.