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COVID-19 cases delay long-awaited Royal Caribbean cruise

FILE - In this March 14, 2020 file photo, Royal Caribbean International cruise ship docked at PortMiami, among other cruise ships, as the world deals with the coronavirus outbreak in Miami. Royal Caribbean is postponing the initial voyages by one of its cruise ships after eight crew members tested positive for COVID-19. The company said Wednesday, June 16, 2021, that the Odyssey of the Seas' first trip is being pushed back from July 3 to July 31. (AP Photo/Brynn Anderson, File)

MIAMI (AP) — Royal Caribbean International is postponing for nearly a month one of the highly anticipated first sailings from the U.S. since the pandemic began because eight crew members tested positive for COVID-19.

The company said all 1,400 employees aboard the Odyssey of the Seas were vaccinated on June 4, but two weeks had not passed for their bodies to build protection against the virus.

The ship was sailing from Fort Lauderdale July 3, but has now been rescheduled for July 31.

CEO Michael Bayley says six of the employees who tested positive are asymptomatic and two are mildly sick.

They have quarantined all crew members and continue routine testing.

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