Crystal Cruises has become the largest cruise line so far to announce that all guests must be vaccinated. This is an ongoing trend to make sure cruises can resume safely and could be a sign of things to come for major cruise lines.
Crystal has also decided to extend its pause on operations into the summer with different turn dates for each market.
Crystal Requires Vaccinated Guests
The shift towards needing a vaccine to go cruising is growing as Crystal Cruises has now become the largest cruise operator so far to issue this requirement.
The cruise line has said, “we are encouraged by the recent development of multiple vaccines and optimistic about what this means for the wellbeing of the Crystal Family and their loved ones around the world.”
So on February 18, 2021, Crystal announced that all guests will need to prove that they have received a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days before boarding.
The requirement is in addition to the cruise line’s health protocols, and the proof will have to be shown before embarkation. There will still be a need for negative a test and health screenings.
This follows British-based SAGA Cruises that was the first cruise line in the world to issue a vaccine requirement. America Queen Steamboat and Victory Cruise Lines also require guests to be vaccinated.
What About Crew Members?
Even though two major cruise lines have already confirmed that crew members will need to be vaccinated before heading back to the ship, for Crystal, the situation remains very fluid.
The cruise line does expect crew members to be vaccinated but understands the availability in their home countries. For now, it’s not a requirement, but the crew will still need to have a negative test and meet all the health protocols in place.
Once vaccines are widely available, Crystal Cruises will alter its stance and the crew will need to be vaccinated 14 days prior to joining their vessel.
We already know that Norwegian Cruise Line and Royal Caribbean are already expecting crew members to be vaccinated before heading back to work on ships. How this is to be implemented remains unclear.
Just days ago Cruise Hive also reported on Swan Hellenic making the vaccine mandatory for all crew members.
Crystal Cruises Extends Suspension
In addition to the new vaccine requirement for guests, Crystal Cruises has also decided to extend its pause on cruise operations. The new timeline for returning to service aims at allowing guests time to be vaccinated.
Worth Reading: Why Are Cruises Still Being Canceled?
River cruises are now cancelled through May 2021 and for ocean cruises into June 2021. Operations are also cancelled through August 1, 2021, for Yacht sailings and through August for its Expedition ship.
A new round of suspensions has now already started with Norwegian Cruise Line, P&O Australia and Viking Cruises all extending suspensions into the summer.