With new variants threatening to disrupt the current status quo in cruising, Celebrity Cruises has decided to broaden the mandatory age bracket for vaccinated guests. The cruise line aims to provide guests with the safest possible cruise experience; with hundreds of thousands of passengers since the restart of cruising, it has done just that.
However, a changing world calls for changing protocols. To stay ahead of Omicron and other variants that continue to threaten the industry, the cruise line has altered its protocols from February 1, 2022 onwards.
Lowering the Mandatory Vaccination Age to 5 Years and Up
Guests booked onboard a Celebrity cruise from February 1 onwards will need to ensure that everyone in their travel party older than 5-years is fully vaccinated. The cruise line follows the example set by Disney Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line.
Celebrity Cruises Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service Dondra Ritzenthaler revealed the new policy in an email to travel agents and advisors; the updates are now also reflected on the cruise line’s 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. We are certain this new adjustment will continue to make us an industry leader in healthy cruising.”
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Cruise lines have been nearly constantly reviewing and revising their travel and testing requirements since the first cruise ship sailed from the United States at the end of June.
The arrival of the Delta variant caused cruise lines to reconsider their sailings with unvaccinated guests, while the arrival of Omicron has already caused cruise cancelations in Southern Africa. Besides the vaccine mandates, Celebrity now also enhanced its testing requirements for guests.
For all US cruises onboard Celebrity Apex, Celebrity Constellation, Celebrity Edge, Celebrity Equinox, Celebrity Millennium, Celebrity Reflection, Celebrity Silhouette, and Celebrity Summit, through December 2021, all guests over the age of 2 must present a negative COVID-19 test result before sailing take two days before sailing. This test is for the guests’ account.
According to Ritzenthaler, all this is to keep all guests safe: It’s all in an effort of leadership in safety, ensuring our guests and your clients will enjoy their bucket list vacation with zero worries. With these enhanced protocols, we’ve transported hundreds of thousands of guests across the globe safely. We are certain this new adjustment will continue to make us an industry leader in healthy cruising.
From February 1, unvaccinated children between the ages of two and four will be required to bring a negative Antigen or PCR test conducted within three days of boarding, but not on the same day as boarding. Unvaccinated children will receive an additional COVID-19 test before boarding the vessel and before leaving the vessel.
Celebrity Cruises is only the third cruise line to require kids aged 5-and up to be fully vaccinated before sailing. Earlier in November, Disney Cruise Line decided also to take this step. At the same time, Norwegian Cruise Line has never allowed unvaccinated guests onboard its ships since it restarted operations.
Celebrity Cruises’ sister line Royal Caribbean International has not announced any changes to its protocols as of this moment.