Virgin Voyages has announced that all passengers booking cruises on its upcoming itineraries will be required to produce proof of full vaccination against COVID-19.
The move by Virgin Voyages makes it the latest cruise line to require that passengers be fully vaccinated before boarding, joining Saga Cruises, Crystal, Swan Hellenic and Victory Cruise Lines.
Several river cruise line have also announced that only vaccinated passengers will be able to book cruises, including American Steamboat Company, Cosmos and Avalon Waterways and Crystal River Cruises.
This week, the British cruise line P&O Cruises also revealed that only vaccinated guests will be able to cruise on its new set of UK-focused itineraries for the summer aboard Britannia and Iona. The cruises are also initially only open to British residents.
“Safety and security is our number one priority, and always has been our number one priority,” says Tom McAlpin, CEO, Virgin Voyages. “We’ve heard the president talk about the acceleration of vaccines out there, where by May, all adults could be vaccinated.”
“So, we think that that’s an important criterium to create a safe environment on our ships. We’re going to be requiring all of our sailors and all of our crew to have to be vaccinated before they get onboard the ship,” he said.
“We think that’s the right thing to do to create that safe environment,” he added.
The vaccine requirement will join mandatory COVID-19 testing prior to boarding. McAlpin said that Virgin Voyages has the capability to test all of its passengers before they get onboard, while they are onboard (if they show symptoms), and when they leave the ship.
The cruise line will also enact social distancing onboard, enhanced cleaning protocols, and has installed an air purification system called Atmosphere, a hospital-grade system that uses bipolar ionization to kill all the bacteria and viruses in the air.
“We will also use technology onboard our ships in a way to create these contactless interactions with our crew, not only providing a better experience but providing a safer experience,” McAlpin added.
Virgin Voyages currently has cruises from July available for booking on its website. Scarlet Lady will be cruising the Caribbean from Miami, while Valiant Lady, the cruise line’s second ship, will be cruising the Mediterranean from Barcelona.