Several cruise lines are now beginning vaccination programs for their crew members. The question of whether or not cruise lines would require vaccinations has been circulating since vaccines first began to be distributed. Companies are now taking the steps to make sure that the crews aboard their ships will be fully inoculated in order to safely sail. This will hopefully just be another step towards cruises from the United States this summer!
Skipping simulated sailings
There are several reasons why cruise lines are trying to get their crews vaccinated. The motivation increased recently, however, when the CDC announced that it would allow cruise lines to skip trial cruises if they got 98% of their crew vaccinated. Waiting on the trial cruise timeline has been one of the main roadblocks in getting back onto the water for U.S. cruise lines, so many companies are eager to skip the process and just go with mass vaccinations instead. Of course, going this route means that they will also need to require vaccinations for their guests. The CDC made it clear that trial cruises could only be skipped if 95% of guests were also vaccinated. With that in mind, you can basically assume that any cruise line vaccinating their crew right now will also be asking all guests to be vaccinated before boarding.
Royal Caribbean crew vaccinations
Royal Caribbean was one of the first cruise lines to announce that they were vaccinating their crew. They said on May 4th that they were giving vaccines to everyone working on both Navigator of the Seas and Freedom of the Seas. Nearly 1000 Royal Caribbean employees got vaccinated that week, getting them closer to the margin they need to skip trial cruises.
Other cruise lines follow
Royal wasn’t the only cruise line to begin the vaccination process. Crew members from the MSC Meraviglia were vaccinated on May 7th. MSC had actually previously vaccinated some of their crew members outside of the U.S., but this was their first push to do the same in America. They currently have plans to vaccinate every crew member on all of their ships. Other cruise lines outside of the U.S. also started vaccinating their crews. Dream Cruises of Taiwan became one of the first Asian cruise lines to do so on May 7th by making all crew members of the Explorer Dream eligible for the vaccine.
We expect to see more and more cruise lines start to do this as time goes on. It’s a simple way to get around the CDC’s regulations for trial cruises, and it will likely make passengers feel safer.