The list of cruise lines requiring all guests and crew members to be vaccinated is growing by the day. Virgin Voyages, Richard Branson’s luxury newcomer, announced today that all customers must be vaccinated before boarding its ships.
Virgin Voyages says the future of cruising is a two-pronged exercise with 100% vaccinated guests and an onboard testing program, presumably before boarding.
The line takes a step back that many competitors are reluctant to take. The company joins British cruise lines SAGA, Crystal Cruises, Royal Caribbean’s Odyssey of the Seas, which only requires a policy for cruises departing from Israel, and some smaller U.S. cruise lines such as Victory Line.
Virgin Voyages said it chose the vaccine based on the nature of its ships and its target audience. Tom McAlpin, president and CEO of Virgin Voyages, said the following in a statement provided to Cruise Hive:
We are an adults-only cruise line, which allows us to provide a very controlled and safe environment for all passengers. Because of our profession, we are very familiar with testing and vaccination requirements. The demand for travel is huge and Virgin Voyages will be ready to welcome you on board as soon as possible.
According to Cruise Line, this decision is based both on the desire to ensure the safest possible voyage for guests and crew, and on the speed with which the new U.S. government is rolling out the vaccine.
Current forecasts for the US imply that there could be a significant easing in the US from May:
Our goal is the safest trip possible, which means that our crew and passengers are vaccinated. This is a step towards a safe return to sailing and the right decision for Virgin Voyages. We are very encouraged by the recent implementation plans of the new government in May and we know that the future lies in vaccination.
Photo credit: Hardcore rides
The vaccination requirements are not surprising, given the cruise line’s focus on young people on its ships. Combined with rigorous testing procedures, the vaccination requirements will allow guests on board to travel more freely.
Also read : The importance of the vaccine for cruises in 2021
The cruise line offers a strange and wonderful selection of accommodations aboard its ships. This includes more than 20 restaurants, such as steakhouses, sushi bars, vegan restaurants and Michelin-starred restaurants, all included in the price.
There is no large buffet restaurant on board, nor a large dining room. One of the strangest additions to the ships is the tattoo parlor. Perfect for those nautical days when you want an anchor tattoo!
It is not yet known when the ships will set sail. Although Virgin Voyages has a restart date of the 30th. June 2021 announced, things have been volatile lately and not much can be said about actual restart dates.
At this point, the virgin was unlucky. The Scarlet Ladies launch was scheduled for April last year, but was delayed by more than a year.
At least when the day comes for the Virgin ships to set sail, we will be safe and well entertained on board.