U.S.-based luxury line Crystal has become the first major cruise line to require its guests to be vaccinated against COVID-19.
Crystal operates two ocean ships and a yacht, as well as river cruise ships in Europe, with an expedition ship on the way and is, by far, the largest cruise line yet to commit to a fully-vaccinated cruise environment.
Other cruise operators mandating COVID-19 vaccination include sister lines American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Line, for both passengers and crew, the U.K.’s Saga Cruises for passengers only and Swan Hellenic for crew only.
As part of Crystal’s updated Crystal Clean+ 4.0 health and safety protocols, the company announced Thursday that all guests must be fully inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to their Crystal cruise. Guests need to provide proof of vaccination before embarkation and must have received both doses of the vaccine, if recommended by the manufacturer. The vaccine requirement is in addition to COVID-19 tests for passengers and crew, temperature checks at the terminal prior to boarding, a mask policy, social-distancing guidelines, enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures and reduced ship capacity.
“We are encouraged by the progress being made with the COVID-19 vaccines and what this means for our Crystal Family and the travel industry as a whole as we eagerly look forward to exploring the world again,” said Crystal’s interim president and CEO, Jack Anderson.
“We know that peace of mind is the greatest luxury; and the vaccine requirement is simply the best way to ensure the safest possible Crystal Experience for all on board. This sentiment is underscored by conversations with our guests and travel partners and a recent Cruise Critic survey of cruisers that revealed that more than 80 percent of respondents would cruise if a vaccine were required.”
Crystal’s crew members are also expected to be vaccinated as well when the company resumes sailing.
“As part of the company’s Crystal Clean+ 4.0 measures, crew members will be tested for COVID-19 prior to leaving their home location to join the ship and must receive a negative result. They also will take a COVID-19 test at embarkation; quarantine for seven days upon arrival; be tested again at the end of that seven-day period and must receive a negative result before beginning their duties,” Anderson said. “When vaccines are widely available, they will be a requirement of employment for crew which must be completed at least 14 days prior to service.”
The company has currently paused operations through MAY 2021 for its river fleet, into JUN for its ocean ships, through 01AUG for Crystal Esprit and through AUG for Crystal Endeavor.