Indiana-based river lines American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines have recently announced that all passengers will be required to get a two-shot COVID-19 vaccine before boarding.
This marks the path of what seems to be the future of traveling aboard by cruise ships. No vaccine, no travel.
Although these are the first North American cruise brands to announce this requirement, they are not the first ones to step forward and make a statement about vaccination.
Folkstone, England-based Saga Cruises, was actually the first cruise company to announce that passengers will need to show proof of being vaccinated in order to get a place on one of their ships.
As stated by CEO and founder of American Queen Steamboat Company, John Waggoner, “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” since “the health and safety of our guests, crew members and partners continues to remain our top priority.”
According to data provided by the company, most of their clients are older than 65. This makes them both, people with an elevated risk of developing severe COVID-19 symptoms and, at the same time, the first demographics eligible to receive one of the coronavirus vaccines.
The focus on safety through vaccines and PCR COVID-19 come as a no surprise to those involved in the cruise ships industry.
Major travel industry players have been talking, for a while now, about the need to demand a COVID-19 immunity certification so they can restart the travel business.
Last November, Alan Joyce, head of Qantas the biggest Australian airline, was one of the first big names to foresee the mandatory vaccine requirement not only for his airline but also for the future of travel as a whole.
“I think that [a vaccination certificate] is going to be a common thing, I’ve been talking to my colleagues in other airlines around the globe”.
Several weeks before the so-called COVID-19 certification made the news, the CEO would say that “these vaccine certificates will be stored in a -digital passport-” and also that airlines and governments were already developing those around the world. So starting requiring this for Cruise Ships is only an organic development.
Another cruise company that may be joining the pro-vaccination club is the parent company of Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises. Back in December, one of his top members affirmed that their legal team was looking at the legality of such a requirement.
Although the details of the vaccination requirement have not been released yet, all these lines said it should not take effect before July 1, 2021.