Celebrity Cruises recently announced it would require vaccines for all children ages 5-11 years old, it has now postponed a final decision on the protocol. The mandate was due to be in effect from February 1, 2022. The cruise line states that the mandate has been put on hold temporarily.
Celebrity Cruises Policy on Hold
Only days after Celebrity Cruises Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service Dondra Ritzenthaler revealed the new policy, the cruise line has now put that policy on hold. The cruise line has already sent updates to travel agents saying that, “The below protocol has been postponed until further notice, while we continue to monitor global situations and lead our industry forward safely.”
The protocol mentioned above refers to the following announcement the cruise line made only two days ago and may also still be showing on the official website:
“As of February 1, 2022 we are asking that all guests 5 years of age and older be fully vaccinated to sail. At that time, unvaccinated children between the ages of two and four years old will be required to bring a negative Antigen or PCR test conducted within three days of boarding.”
There has been no further announcement from the cruise line about the reasoning behind postponing the requirement. However, it could be a company-wide strategy that includes sister cruise line Royal Caribbean International.
In her weekly coffee chat, Vicki Freed, Royal Caribbean International’s senior vice president of Sales, Trade Support and Service, said the company is evaluating the route the company is to take regarding a vaccine mandate for children ages 5- and up.
It remains to be seen then what the procedures for the Royal Caribbean Group cruise lines such as Royal Caribbean and Celebrity will be. It is no secret that Richard D. Fain, the President and CEO of Royal Caribbean Group, has been a strong supporter of vaccines. It will likely only be a matter of time before the company makes vaccines mandatory.
The US Food and Drug Administration (FDA) announced in late October that the Pfizer-BioNTech COVID-19 Vaccine is acceptable for emergency use in children ages 5 to 1. However, only two cruise lines have gone so far as to make those vaccines mandatory.
Cruise Lines Requiring Kids 5-Years and Above to be Fully Vaccinated
So far, following Celebrity Cruises pulling its mandate, only two cruise lines have made clear they require all children 5-years old and up to be fully vaccinated. Norwegian Cruise Line has been clear that it will only allow fully vaccinated guests onboard its ships and confirmed recently it would be extending this mandate to include the 5-11-year-old group of children:
“Given the recent health updates regarding the expansion of the age criteria to receive the vaccination, we look forward to welcoming these younger guests back onboard soon,” a Norwegian Cruise Line spokesperson said at the time.
“Disney Cruise Line continues to require all vaccine-eligible Guests (based on US eligibility requirements) to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at the time of sailing. This will be a requirement for all Guests (US and international) ages 5 and up for sailings beginning on or after January 13, 2022.”
As for the cruise lines under the Carnival Corporation flag, the company has said that any mandates will be part of the decision-making of each individual cruise line and will likely not be part of a corporate strategy.