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Cruise Lines Requiring COVID Vaccination?

What CRUISE LINE will be the first to require proof of full COVID VACCINATION of ALL PASSENGERS & CREW--no exceptions? An inveterate cruiser, I have read pages and pages of protocols from various cruise corporations about enhanced air filtering and disinfecting and optimized medical centers, et. al. While all that is important, none of it ensures the same level of safety as a fully immunized crew and passenger base. I will be the first to book any interesting cruise Summer or Fall, 2021 once I'm guaranteed everyone shipboard is vaccinated. Conversely, I WILL NOT spend big bucks for a cruise if I have to worry the person in the cabin next to me isn't immunized and is a ticking time bomb threatening me and my trip. I want to enjoy my time cruising the way vaccination would allow...not being told to stay socially distant or--horrors--wear a mask. Come on, Holland America, Princess, Celebrity, get the courage to draw a line in the sand and really protect your passengers by mandating COVID vaccinations!!!

Posted by
4677 posts

No vaccine offers 100% protection. Most of Europe seems to think that mask wearing will be around until the end of 2021. Wearing a mask everywhere isn’t that difficult and is mandatory in many parts of Europe when out on the streets, on public transport and when in buildings.

Any Covid test is only valid on the day you take it. If you had one before you left home, you could pick something up on the aircraft etc.

Posted by
48 posts

I agree with the OP. No company (or traveller) wants to find themselves in another Diamond Princess situation...

Many countries required visitors to prove vaccination for polio, MMR, yellow fever, etc. COVID should be no different.

Posted by
2876 posts

As an inveterate cruiser, I suggest you look to Cruise critic, where there are already lengthy threads on COVID, restrictions, and vaccination.

I doubt there will ever be a cruise with 100% vaccination of pax and crew for one simple reason. There is a certain percentage of the population that cannot receive the vaccine for legitimate medical reasons. I seriously doubt the cruise lines could legally ban these people from cruising. And then there are the (est) 5% if the population that don't develop immunity even though they are vaccinated.

While it may be possible to go maskless and not socially distance while on board, you are dreaming if you think you will be able to visit most ports without wearing a mask and abiding by the local health restrictions. I have no doubt that restrictions will remain in place for most, if not all of this year, and maybe longer.

"... a ticking time bomb..." The hyperbole is unnecessary and does little to boost credibility. The cruise lines will implement the policies they seem necessary. Then you can decide whether their conditions meet your expectations and cruise or not cruise. There are many other ways to vacation besides cruising. And by the way, I doubt anyone from the major cruise lines monitor this forum. They do monitor cruise critic.

Posted by
2478 posts

I've never been on a cruise, so I have no opinion. But I will say welcome to the forum!

Posted by
3789 posts

Well, since MSC took the lead on Covid protocols for cruiseships, I would see what they do about it. Looking at their website, they haven't provided details about vaccines or proof of - yet. But they are often very slow with updating their websites.

Posted by
1591 posts

I assume that a vaccination will be required for both international travel, including cruises, for at least a couple of years. Frankly, that’s the only reason I will be getting a vaccination. If the vaccine is 95% effective, perhaps 300 people could be unprotected on one of the larger cruise ships. However with the improvements in ‘sick bay’ and procedures for handling cases, I don’t expect cruises to be cut short if there are sick onboard.

Posted by
12387 posts

I'm not a cruiser, although I certainly won't disparage our forum members who enjoy that mode of travel. Along with the problem of requiring a vaccination that not every client can tolerate, for medical reasons, ships usually call at multiple ports where passengers are not going to be completely insulated from the people who live and work there. They may be employed in the shops, provide guide services, work in the restaurants, drive the buses/taxis, be other sightseers, or just be going about errands in the streets. You'll have no idea whether THEY have been vaccinated or not. Spending the entire cruise on the ship to try and create some sort of safety bubble is not what most cruises are all about?

It's sort of like Rick mandating vaccination for clients taking his tours abroad but not being able to otherwise protect them from up-close-and-personal opportunities his tours are advertised as providing?

But if YOU have had the shots, do you still think you have something to worry about if coming into contact with people whom have not?

I want to enjoy my time cruising the way vaccination would allow...not
being told to stay socially distant or--horrors--wear a mask.

As they still don't know if vaccinated individuals can still carry/spread the virus or not, masking and distancing might be a mandate in certain situations for some time yet.

A previous thread of similar topic:

https://community.ricksteves.com/travel-forum/beyond-europe/will-the-cruise-industry-of-all-people-lead-us-back-to-safe-travel

Posted by
2828 posts

If I had to guess, I'd say the most likely scenario is vaccination or PCR testing.

The problem, though, is: who is going to insure these trips? I think the cruise lines might decide to take a vastly different approach if they want to restart their activities.

If I also had to guess, I'd say "close-circuit" cruises that don't disembark in large ports (Alaska, Antarctica, Galapagos) will probably be the first to be restarted.

Mediterranean cruises will likely be among the last ones.

Posted by
3317 posts

I have no hesitation in cheerfully wearing a mask whenever or wherever it is required for the public good. If wearing a mask or social distancing is required by a country or a venue when I’m traveling again, no problem. I haven’t ever cruised, but if I wanted to do so, I certainly wouldn’t let such a small issue as mask wearing keep me from participating.

If you want to cruise, go enjoy yourself when you feel it is appropriate for you.

Posted by
77 posts

OK - great.

Then it sounds like you’re planning to hold off on cruising until more clear vaccination mandates are in place, which is super responsible.

It sounds like you should probably hold off on making any cruise plans until very late 2021 to ensure the rest of the country and world (and the cruise lines) are in true compliance.

Posted by
5174 posts

First, normal disclaimer, my opinion like every other is complete speculation.

Cruises, like Airlines, are simply not lining up to draw a line in the sand and say "Vaccination is Mandatory" and if they can avoid it, they will.

Why?

First, to do so is to basically confirm a shutdown for at least the next 6 months, basically cease all business, and hang it up. They would much prefer some other solution, at least keep hope alive.

Second, while any number of "health passports" are being developed, we have probably already missed the boat on a highly secure option that positively verifies that a person has had the proper course of vaccines, type of vaccine, etc. and positively identifies that the person presenting the information is the same person. People getting vaccinated in the US get a paper card that has places to print your name, and record the date of each dose. I could probably find the image online, print, and fill out myself today. A medical statement (Signed Doctors letter) might suffice, but let's face it, it is still not positive verification, you can get a "Doctors Note" for about anything.

Third, the issue of choice will still come up. Yes, I agree, a business need only set a policy then stick with it, but even mandatory vaccination of employees has some valid legal issues, and just a brief perusal of acquaintances known to be big cruising fans turns up a surprisingly high number that are already anti-vaxx or have expressed disdain or disbelief regarding the virus, shutdown actions, and masks. (This is of course purely anecdotal and not intended to be a statistical assessment of the "cruising population" as a whole).

Cruising, and Air Travel, will likely resume only when infection rates are reduced to a tolerable risk level (not zero), likely driven by a combination of % population vaccinated plus % population who have developed antibodies. Cruising, due to the time period involved, is probably far behind Air Travel in that risk assessment. The point at which you are comfortable is of course up to you, but to expect zero risk, or even to expect 100% compliance with vaccinations may be a long time coming, even unrealistic. Cruise Companies and Airlines are only looking to make travel tolerable, without extensive administration, and not waiting for some authority to impose hard and fast rules.

Posted by
1767 posts

It’s not a cruise, but I recently had a discussion with people who run a major tour operator in the United States. I’ll leave the name out protect the innocent or guilty. They pretty much have decided that they will probably require vaccination or you won’t go. It appears that they are within their legal rights to do so as a private industry so they can keep you off their buses and out of Europe on their tours

I wouldn’t be surprised if cruise operators and other tour companies do the same thing. I realize some people with legitimate reasons will be disadvantaged. Unfortunately a lot of people with “legitimate reasons” only have a legitimate reason in their own mind. The truth is they have to do what’s best for the majority of the guests and their business

Posted by
7511 posts

Many countries that used to be cruise destinations don’t have the resources to buy the vaccine and equipment to vaccinate their populations. Developed countries had pledged to help and share, but so far countries are having a hard enough time taking care of only their own. As for masks, they are mandated in most of Europe and will be for quite a while. Just today in France we were told not to use the homemade decorative cloth masks anymore due to the more highly contagious strains that are spreading.

My Singapore to Dubai cruise in March 2020 was canceled. I can’t wait to be able to do it even if I have to wear double masks and a face shield. Not a biggie. I’m not snowflaking about that. Just pull the bugger down under your nose when no one is around to get a good breath of air, but go see the world.,