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Friday, July 16, 2021

Passenger tests positive for COVID-19 on Jupiter Sky, cruise is cancelled and Viking Jupiter’s itinerary in question

 Jupiter sky Iceland’s natural beauty welcome back cruise pauses in Akureyri, Iceland.

Much speculation has been made about how the cruise industry will return.  When Viking ocean announced welcome back cruises to Iceland, one of the first European countries to reopen, we jumped on the opportunity. We set sail on the Viking Jupiter on July 11 from Reykjavik. 

Viking has enacted strict COVID-19 protocols.  

  1. Our ship is 1/2 capacity since we are the first sailing of this ship since COVID-19 began 
  2. We must social distance and have no large gatherings
  3. Masks must be worn onboard and on buses
  4. Daily temperature checks are performed
  5. Tracking devices are worn for potential contact tracing. 
  6. Daily saliva PCR tests for COVID-19 are performed. 
  7. Frequent hand washing and sanitization is necessary 
  8. All passengers and crew are vaccinated 

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We knew this voyage would be at risk for trip interruption.  Over the last few days reports were trickling in about Viking Sky having a passenger that tested positive for COVID-19.  That led to the passengers not being allowed to disembark and two of their ports. Last night reports were that the remainder of the Viking Sky’s cruise was canceled and they would be returning to Reykjavík.

This morning we arrived for our planned shore excursions at 8 AM only to sit there for another two hours hoping to disembark. The crew was excellent at updating us about what was occurring. But they only told us that we were being delayed. Eventually the captain came on the loudspeaker and informed us that the local police were having issue with potential for COVID-19 positive passengers. The captain reassured us that we had obtained pre-clearance from the government of Iceland for arrival today but unfortunately that did not correlate with what the locals wanted. As of now over four hours later we are still waiting for word about the status of our port and perhaps even cruise.

The captain’s last update was that local authorities wanted to inspect the ship for protocols but it was happening slowly.  That’s was a few hours ago. 

Kudos to Viking for making our morning comfortable with refreshments, including mimosas, and entertainment.

Many of us on board saw that our buses for sure excursions were leaving after about 1 to 2 hours and some of us also noticed an ambulance pull up to the cruise ship. This ended up being not due to a Covid positive passnger but actually for a passenger who fell and broke her hip.

This highlights the need for having insurance particularly on very expensive vacations and when there is what seems to be a high chance of trip interruption for either personal or health reasons like today.

Rumors are circulating that passengers aboard Sky will receive a 50% refund for a cruise canceled 1 day early with 3 missed ports. The Sky has not arrived in Reykjavik yet and they do not know their fate. More recent reports are that a cruise voucher was provided and open bar started at noon. 

Update: Viking Sky passengers will disembark on July 17 as planned with a future cruise voucher equivalent to 50% of cruise cost. 

Update: After losing our day in Akureyri, we were able to go ashore in every other port and the cruise finished normally for most passengers.  There was no further communication from any Viking staff to the passengers.  A rumor was afloat that the COVID positive test was a false positive, but we know this to not be true.  Several passengers who were located near the positive individual, were quarantined in their respective cabins for the remainder of the cruise.  We know this because we directly messaged with one of them.  Understandably, Viking was trying to limit panic and confusion for all aboard, all while trying to keep the passengers safe and protect the privacy of those affected.  

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