Crystal Cruises has joined the growing band of cruise ship operators to announce that all guests must be fully inoculated with a COVID-19 vaccine at least 14 days prior to a cruise.
Guests will need to provide proof of vaccination before embarkation and must have received both doses of the vaccine if recommended by the manufacturer by the date of their cruise.
This vaccine requirement augments the company’s Crystal Clean+ 4.0 measures, which includes negative COVID-19 tests for both guests and crew, temperature checks at the terminal prior to boarding, a nimble mask policy, social distancing guidelines, enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures, reduced capacity and more.
“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% of respondents would cruise if a vaccine were required,” he added.
Crystal said it understood that the widespread availability of vaccines varies according to the distribution plan of each travellers’ home country and/or state.
The company had voluntarily paused operations through May, 2021 for its river fleet, into June for its ocean ships, to 1st August for ’Crystal Esprit’ and through August for ’Crystal Endeavor’, allowing most travellers sufficient time to get fully vaccinated before the resumption of sailing.
In addition, Crystal’s crew, who come from dozens of countries, will be expected to have been vaccinated when the company resumes sailing. However, this may not be a viable option for all crew members given their age and/or the availability of vaccines in their home countries.
“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 added.
“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.”
In addition to providing verified documentation of their COVID-19 vaccine at the time of boarding, guests will complete an online form acknowledging this requirement before their cruise tickets will be issued. Crystal has published a frequently asked questions (FAQ) document on the advisory alert section of its website for further reference.
Crystal said that it will continue to evaluate and update its health and safety protocols for its luxury brands – Crystal Cruises, Crystal River Cruises, Crystal Yacht Cruises and the upcoming Crystal Expedition Cruises – according to the latest scientific data and expert guidance.
Crystal ships are designed to offer nearly double the space per guest of similar-sized ships, and their social spaciousness will be further increased with a commitment to lower guest capacity when the ships resume sailing, the company said.