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First large-ship cruise line announces need for vaccine




When luxury cruise line Crystal Cruises resumes operations on its river and ocean crossings later this year, all of its passengers will need to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least two weeks before departure.

Crystal has suspended operations until May for river cruises and until June for ocean cruises. The luxury yacht of cruise lines Crystal spirit and Polar Class Expedition Ship Crystal Endeavor should resume navigation in August.

Considerably smaller than the huge cruise ships operated by some of the mass market lines, Crystalss two 980 passenger liners Serenity and 848 passengers Symphony offer an award-winning mix of large ship cruises and luxury travel.

We know that peace of mind is the greatest luxury and that the requirement of vaccines is simply the best way to ensure the safest possible Crystal experience for everyone on board, said Jack Anderson, Acting CEO by Crystals, in a report. This sentiment is underscored by conversations with our customers and travel partners and by a recent Cruise Critic survey of cruisers which found that over 80% of respondents would take a cruise if a vaccine was needed.

Crystal is the fourth cruise line to impose vaccines, but the only large ship cruise line to do so.

I think that’s the new normal, John Wagoner, CEO of American Queen Steamboat Company says Cruise Critic, the cruise review site, last month, when it announced that American Queen and its sister line, Victory Cruise Lines, would require passengers to be vaccinated starting July 1. If you had the opportunity to sail a boat knowing that everyone was fully vaccinated or that only 90% of people were vaccinated, which one would you choose? The rule will be in place for the four riverboats in US Queens and the three ships operated by Victory Cruise Lines.

The first cruise line to announce a vaccination warrant was UK company Saga Cruises, which will also require passengers to receive the Covid-19 vaccine at least two weeks before boarding.

Crystal Cruises’ new vaccine requirement is part of Clean + 4.0 measures, which require negative Covid testing for passengers and crew prior to boarding, temperature checks at the terminal prior to boarding, guidelines for masking and social distancing, improved cleaning and disinfection measures and reduced capacity. Customers will need to provide proof of vaccination prior to boarding.

In addition to providing verified documentation of their Covid-19 vaccine upon boarding, Crystals passengers will need to complete an online form acknowledging the vaccination requirement before their cruise tickets are issued.

Most major cruise lines plan to resume navigation at the end of April or soon after. One of the most pressing questions is whether other large ship cruise lines will require passengers to be vaccinated against Covid-19.


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