MIAMI – Royal Caribbean International has postponed the inaugural sailing of its Odyssey of the Seas cruise ship “out of an abundance of caution” after eight crew members tested positive for COVID-19, the company’s CEO said.

Odyssey of the Seas was set to sail from Fort Lauderdale on July 3 and make stops in the Caribbean. Its sailing is now postponed until July 31. A simulation cruise, originally scheduled for late June, will also be rescheduled.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley announced the changes late Tuesday in a statement posted on Facebook.

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“During routine testing, eight crew members received a positive test result for COVID-19. All 1,400 crew onboard Odyssey of the Seas were vaccinated on June 4th and will be considered fully vaccinated on June 18. The positive cases were identified after the vaccination was given and before they were fully effective,” Bayley said.

Of the eight crew members who tested positive, six are asymptomatic, he said. Two have mild symptoms. They are all quarantined and are being monitored by the cruise line’s medical team.

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“To protect the remaining crew and prevent any further cases, we will have all crew quarantined for 14 days and continue with our routine testing … While disappointing, this is the right decision for the health and well-being of our crew and guests,” Bayley said.

Earlier this month, two passengers aboard the Celebrity Millennium ship, the first cruise in the Caribbean in seven months, tested positive for COVID-19. Like almost all passengers aboard, the cabin mates were vaccinated and reportedly asymptomatic.

Celebrity Cruises, owned by Miami-based Royal Caribbean Group, required all crew and passengers 16 years old or older to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

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(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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