Crystal Cruises has announced that it will require all passengers to be fully inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to their cruise. Passengers will need to provide proof of vaccination before embarkation and must have received both doses of the vaccine if required.
The vaccine requirement comes on top of Crystal’s existing health protocol, which includes negative COVID-19 tests for both guests and crew, temperature checks at the terminal prior to boarding, face masks, social distancing guidelines.
“We are encouraged by the progress being made with the COVID-19 vaccines and what this means for our Crystal Family and the travel industry as a whole as we eagerly look forward to exploring the world again,” said Crystal’s interim president and CEO, Jack Anderson. “We know that peace of mind is the greatest luxury; and the vaccine requirement is simply the best way to ensure the safest possible Crystal Experience for all on board.”
Anderson noted that a recent Cruise Critic survey of cruisers revealed that more than 80 percent of respondents would cruise if a vaccine were required.
Crystal Cruises expects crew to be vaccinated
In a press release, Crystal Cruises said that crew will be expected to be vaccinated as well when the company resumes sailing, “however, this may not be a viable option for all crew members given their age and/or the availability of vaccines in their home countries.”
Anderson said crew would be tested for COVID-19 prior to leaving their home location to join the ship and must receive a negative result. He added that they will also be required to take a COVID-19 test at embarkation; quarantine for seven days upon arrival; be tested again at the end of that seven-day period and must receive a negative result before beginning their duties.
“When vaccines are widely available, they will be a requirement of employment for crew which must be completed at least 14 days prior to service,” Anderson said.
UK-based Saga Cruises and American Queen Steamboat Company are among several smaller cruise companies who have already announced that they will require proof of vaccination from passengers.
None of the big three cruise operators – Carnival Corporation, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings and Royal Caribbean – have so far issued any vaccination requirement.
Norwegian considering immunity passport requirement
In December, Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio said ship crews would be required to get the vaccine and the company was also examining whether it could ask passengers to present an “immunity passport” before embarkation.
“It will certainly be a requirement for the crew,” Del Rio said in comments carried by Travel Weekly. “But it’s too early to tell whether we have the legal standing to mandate that you take a vaccine to come onboard. ”
Del Rio said there was talk beginning to emerge from different corners of the travel industry, including airlines, of requiring some kind of immunity passport “demonstrating that you’ve had the virus or been vaccinated so that you are good to go.”