Travel | February 5, 2021 12:51 pm

Why Cruise Lines Aren’t Taking Any Chances With Vaccinations

Effective July 1, two US cruise lines will make the vaccine a mandate to board

Why Cruise Lines Aren’t Taking Any Chances With Vaccinations
Erik Sampers/Getty

There’s been a lot of talk in recent days as to how the vaccine might be applied to the travel industry, and the ethics involved in doing so. The airline industry, in particular, has remained particularly polarized — the topic becoming initially inflamed after the Head of the World Travel and Tourism Council called the proposition of vaccination as a travel requirement discriminatory, followed soon thereafter by the announcement by Singapore Airlines of their intent to be the first airline to inoculate all of their employees in cooperation with the federal government. But there is one sector of the industry that isn’t taking any chances this time around: cruises.

Effective July 1 of this year, US cruise lines American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines will make the vaccine a mandate to board, as per their respective websites.

“The health and safety of our guests, crew members and partners continues to remain our top priority,” John Waggoner, CEO and founder of American Queen Steamboat Company, told Cruise Critic. “Vaccination requirement for both our guests and crew is the most prudent next step to ensure that we are providing the safest cruising experience possible. Our new vaccination requirement, coupled with comprehensive health and safety protocols and risk-free booking policy, will give our loyal guests another added level of assurance to join us as we return to sailing.”

We can’t say we’re surprised. We all remember the horrors of the cruise-ship outbreaks in the early days of COVID. As early as February 4 of last year, there were reports of COVID-19 onboard the Diamond Princess, which saw more than 2,500 passengers quarantined aboard, 700 of whom were virus-positive. Others, like the Norwegian Jewel, became stranded at sea after they were refused at ports across several countries. It left the cruise industry devastated and even now — an entire year later, and with innumerable guidelines and regulations in place — it remains to be seen whether or not the cruise industry will fully recover.

Admittedly, it does make the vaccine-to-board requirement feel a bit less like a stretch. Though, for most of us, a vaccine is about as far out on the calendar as our desire to hop aboard a cruise ship is.