Have you thought about getting your vaccine passport in order? Because it could very well be a requirement from the cruise lines that you must be immune to COVD-19 before sailing.
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings CEO Frank Del Rio said the company already has its lawyers looking at the legal side of requiring guests to show they have been vaccinated with the COVID-19 vaccine.
Cruise Industry Will Have To Build Confidence First
Before we see any significant changes in how the cruise industry can operate, they will need to show that cruising can be done safely.
This confidence will need to be instilled in the guests that the cruise lines hope to welcome on board, especially the various government agencies worldwide. Few countries will want to allow cruise ships into their coastal waters unless they are confident in the safety measures implemented.
The vaccine will be a hugely important step for cruise lines, but also the airline industry, and the entire hospitality industry, according to NCLH CEO Frank Del Rio who spoke to Travel Leaders Group during a Zoom call:
“There is talk beginning to emerge from different corners of the travel industry, the airlines as well, of requiring some kind of immunity passport demonstrating that you’ve had the virus or been vaccinated so that you are good to go.”
According to Del Rio, the cruise company will require crew members to be vaccinated no matter what:
“It will certainly be a requirement for the crew, but it’s too early to tell whether we have the legal standing to mandate that you take a vaccine to come onboard — lawyers are looking at it as we speak. We have to build confidence in our customers and among ourselves that it’s safe to cruise.”
Cruise Lines Mandate For Vaccine Not Alone
It could very well be that a mandate from Cruise Lines to travel with this ‘immunity passport’ will not stand alone and be a requirement for international travel.
Those wishing to take a cruise abroad and thus fly internationally will need to be vaccinated. This was said last week by Qantas President and Ceo Alan Joyce: “I think that’s going to be a common thing talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe.”
The fear is from others in the aviation and cruise industry that a blanket vaccination rule from authorities would do the same to travel as lockdowns, creating more hardship for already struggling industries.
Debts Are Building
The most crucial factor is the following: Does the cruise industry have time to wait until 70-80% of the world population is vaccinated. At this time, projections seem to suggest that this would not be the case until July or August at the earliest.
With an industry hemorrhaging money, it would be unlikely many cruise lines will be able to sit still for another 8-9 months without building up huge debts. There is a good chance the cruise industry will not restart in the US due to the issues with the CDC’s framework but would do so in Europe, as Frank Del Rio made clear this week:
“We hope that the pandemic will ease and we can work out our differences with the CDC to start in mid to late March, it’s a long shot, but I want to keep that possibility as long as I see a possibility.
“I think there is a good chance that Europe will be open to cruising in the April to May time frame.”
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Vaccine Will Be Paramount For Cruising
Whether an immunity passport is implemented, it seems inevitable that there will be a considerable amount of debate on the issue in the upcoming months.
As more and more data becomes available on the vaccine programs, we will hopefully see growing confidence in the vaccine and, consequently, the cruise industry.
Whether you like it or not, the vaccine is and will be a hugely important factor in a successful resumption of cruising worldwide. Whether we will see a full resumption in 2021 is up to the air at the moment, yet we remain hopeful.