3 more cruise lines to require COVID-19 vaccine booster shots

Jan 17, 2022

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Three more cruise lines soon will require passengers to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine booster shot before sailing.

Small-ship specialist UnCruise Adventures, which is particularly known for Alaska sailings, plans to add a booster shot requirement for passengers from 5 Feb., according to a post this week on its website.

German luxury brand Hapag-Lloyd Cruises, which has a global footprint and is partly owned by Royal Caribbean Group, announced on Tuesday that it would mandate booster shots from 14 Feb.

Finally, river cruise and small ship specialist Grand Circle Cruise Line is adding a booster shot requirement that will take effect on 1 April, according to a 10 Jan. post on its website.

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The three lines are following in the wake of the U.K.-based cruise brands P&O Cruises and Cunard Line, which both added booster shot requirements this month for single sailings that are notably long. In the case of UnCruise, Hapag-Lloyd and Grand Circle, the requirement will extend to all sailings after the implementation date.

For all three lines, the booster shot requirement is in addition to an existing requirement that all passengers show proof of being fully vaccinated for COVID-19.

Related: Here’s how to cancel or postpone a cruise due to COVID-19

Hapag-Lloyd will not require the booster if fewer than three months have passed since a passenger was fully vaccinated.

In its announcement Tuesday, Hapag-Lloyd said the new requirement was being added with the goal of “further increasing safety for passengers and crew and based on the current vaccination recommendation of [German vaccine group] STIKO, which recommends a booster vaccination after three months.”

The Hapag-Lloyd requirement will apply to all passengers over the age of 18. The first voyage affected is the 14 Feb. sailing of Europa 2, a vessel that caters both to German and English-speaking passengers. It’ll take effect on the line’s four other vessels starting with cruises departing between 19 Feb. and 24 Feb.

UnCruise said the booster shot requirement would apply to all passengers eligible for a booster shot.

“We continue to take a safe and practical approach to every step of our small-vessel experience,” UnCruise said in a statement. “We’ve successfully operated in Alaska, the Pacific Northwest and Hawaii during [COVID-19], and recent experience has proven a recipe for limited transmission with variants thus far. We require full vaccination to board, including a booster for all of those who are eligible, along with a negative molecular [COVID-19] test.”

The Grand Circle booster shot requirement will apply to all travellers.

The new requirements come as COVID-19 cases soar around the world.

The cruise industry has been the most aggressive segment of the travel industry in requiring customers to be vaccinated against COVID-19. Most of the world’s major cruise lines require all or most passengers to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 — a policy that many lines implemented when they restarted operations in 2021.

All of the world’s major cruise lines paused operations in early 2020 after the COVID-19 outbreak was declared a pandemic. Most didn’t resume sailings for more than a year.

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Featured image courtesy of UnCruise Adventures.

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