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Yesterday, British cruise line Saga Cruises announced that all passengers must be vaccinated for Covid in order to cruise. Saga is the first cruise line to require the vaccine. The company announced that passengers must receive the second dost of the vaccine at least two weeks prior to sailing. Pre-boarding Covid tests are also required. Saga hopes to resume cruising in May.
Saga Cruises owns two cruise ships with a third ship due to be completed this spring. The company operates cruise vacations for people age 50 and over.
So far, major U.S. cruise lines have been ambiguous about whether or not they would require passengers to be vaccinated from Covid. Cruise fans have very mixed and strong opinions on the subject.
The Case for Requiring Covid Vaccinations
If all passengers had the Covid vaccine, cruising could likely re-start sooner rather than later. Ports of call would more likely welcome cruise ships back with open arms. Mask rules and capacity restrictions might be more relaxed on board. Cruisers would have more confidence that the cruise would remain Covid-free and there wouldn’t be unexpected quarantines.
Drawbacks to the Vaccination Requirement
Of course, some people just don’t want to be vaccinated or they can’t be vaccinated due to allergies or health conditions. There is also the issue of the slow rollout of vaccinations in some areas.
In addition, right now there is no vaccine approved for kids under the age of 16. This age group represents a significant percentage of passengers on Disney Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Carnival. If those lines decide to require the Covid vaccine, perhaps they will only require it for adults.
If a required vaccine gets us cruising faster, I’m all for it. Those who don’t want to get the vaccine can wait until the potential requirement is presumably lifted when herd immunity is present. However, if it’s required for all passengers, my family is out because two of my kids are too young for the vaccine right now.
I think that if U.S. cruise lines announce a vaccine requirement in order to cruise, it’s going to make a lot of cruisers very mad. Before the pandemic hit, I would have never thought this would be a requirement. Now, I’m not so sure. We’ve seen stranger things happen over the past year.
Do you think more cruise lines will require the Covid vaccine for passengers? Does the requirement make you want to board a cruise sooner, or write off cruising altogether?
Opinions expressed here are author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, hotel, airline, or other entity. This content has not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of the entities included within the post.
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.