Crystal Cruises Will Require a COVID-19 Vaccine for All Passengers, becoming the first major cruise line to mandate the vaccine for guests. Prior to Crystal, only smaller lines such as UK-based Saga Cruises and the American Queen Steamboat Company announced that all passengers must be vaccinated.
Per Crystal Cruises' announcement, all passengers will need to have received both doses (if part of the manufacturer's regimen) at least 14 days prior to boarding a Crystal ship, and will need to provide proof of vaccination before embarking.
Crystal Cruise's interim President and CEO Jack Anderson notes that in a recent survey of nearly 3000 cruisers, 81% said they would cruise if a vaccine was required of all passengers. Only 5% said that a vaccine requirement would dissuade them from cruising.
Crystal Cruises, as with other major cruise lines, has paused its voyages through at least May 2021 for Crystal River Cruises, until June 2021 for ocean voyages, until at least August 2021 for the Crystal Esprit Yacht, and until September 2021 for the Crystal Endeavor.
While requiring all passengers to be vaccinated is prudent, it does give us pause that Crystal Cruises' crew members won't initially be subject to the same requirements, ostensibly because it “may not be a viable option for all crew members given their age and/or the availability of vaccines in their home countries.” While Crystal will require crew to test negative COVID-19 prior to leaving their home location, again at embarkation, and quarantine for seven days on arrival, with another negative test at the end of the quarantine, we believe that if Crystal was serious about vaccination for all, it would also mean crew, and only using crew members who have been vaccinated, even if that means sourcing crew members from countries that are further along in their vaccination programs.
After all, Crystal is drawing a line in the sand and not permitting ANY passengers who aren't vaccinated, not even young children who certainly won't be able to vaccinated in time if Crystal resumes sailing later in 2021. Testing out of the vaccine requirement isn't available even for passengers for whom a vaccine isn't currently available, so why should crew members be able to test out of it? It's especially problematic because of the communal conditions in which crew members live, which could mean rapid spread among the crew from just one infected crew member. A seven day quarantine isn't long enough, since even 14 days isn't foolproof; up to 5% of COVID-19 cases have an incubation period longer than two weeks.
Crystal Cruises Vaccination FAQ
Will All Vaccines Be Accepted?
No; as of time of writing, the vaccine must be one already approved by the U.S. FDA or Europe's EMA. That means that citizens of other countries, who may have received one of the Chinese, Indian or Russian vaccines, wouldn't be eligible with that vaccine, unless it it's approved by the FDA or EMA.
Does Crystal Cruises Vaccination Policy Apply to All Guests, Even Kids?
Yes, Crystal's mandatory vaccination policy applies to all guests, with no exceptions for guests who don't have access to current vaccines, such as kids, or guests who for medical or personal reasons are unable to get vaccinated.
Will Vaccinated Guests No Longer Be Required to Take a COVID-19 Test?
No, Crystal Cruises will still mandate a negative COVID-19 test prior to boarding a Crystal vessel; of course, many countries will also continue to require negative COVID-19 tests as a condition of entry.
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