Odyssey of the Seas, anchored in the bay. | Teresa Ayuga

There was an unusual sight in the bay of Palma on Monday morning - a cruise ship. The Royal Caribbean Odyssey of the Seas was not arriving for a stopover. The visit was not for tourism purposes, as there was a health emergency on board. Two crew members had tested positive for Covid and were to disembark in Palma.

The ship did not dock. For a couple of hours, it anchored in the bay as a Guardia Civil boat guarded it. High protection ambulances went to the port to receive the two crew members. The operation to transfer them was overseen by the Spanish external health service. The two are said to be asymptomatic and have been isolating in cabins.

The ship had come from Civitavecchia in Italy and is en route to Fort Lauderdale. It is one of two Quantum Ultra class ships that Royal Caribbean operates and has a maximum passenger capacity of 4,905.

The first cruise ship to come to Palma since March last year, cruise ships may soon be a familiar sight in the bay once again. Aida Cruises is one operator that has scheduled itineraries to include Palma - these are due to start in July. The regional government has established protocols for cruise ships and the Spanish government has given the go-ahead for cruises that take in national ports only. There is as yet no date for a start to international itineraries.