Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas to Require Crew Get Vaccinated

Norwegian Cruise Ship

Norwegian Cruise Line and Regent Seven Seas Cruises will look to have all crew members vaccinated ahead of resuming sailings.

On Monday a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. confirmed to Travel + Leisure that the company was "exploring all options regarding vaccinations for guests and crew and it is our intention that all crew members be vaccinated before boarding our vessels to begin their duties, subject to availability of the vaccine."

It is not yet clear when sailings will resume in the U.S., but the Centers for Disease Control and Prevent did lift its "No-Sail" Order in October, laying the groundwork for a new era in cruises, including requiring simulated voyages. However, vaccine supplies have become a topic of intense scrutiny and shots have been increasingly hard to come by, making it unclear when these ships would once again hit the high seas.

"The safety of our guests, crew and communities we visit remains our highest priority," the Norwegian spokesperson added. "We continue to closely monitor the evolving impacts of the COVID-19 global pandemic and vaccine developments."

Regent Seven Seas, which is owned by Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., will also require its crew to be vaccinated, Business Insider reported.

Last week, the Seychelles said the country would open its borders to fully vaccinated travelers and Saga Cruises, a cruise line that caters to passengers 50 and older, said it would require guests to be vaccinated before boarding.

Even Sir Richard Branson, whose new cruise line Virgin Voyages was forced to delay its inaugural voyage, voiced optimism vaccine passports could play a role in the travel industry's recovery.

Colleen McDaniel, the editor-in-chief of Cruise Critic, told T L that 85% of cruise fans surveyed last week said they were more likely to get on a ship if the crew was vaccinated. That's even higher than the 81% who said they would sign up for a sailing if guests were required to have the shot.

"When it comes to vaccinating crew, cruise lines would have far more control over acquiring the vaccines themselves and providing it directly to their employees," McDaniel said. "It will be interesting to see if other lines follow suit."

In the meantime, several cruise lines have already resumed sailings in Europe, and Carnival Cruises said the demand for future trips is unmistakable with bookings for the first half of 2022 already set to outpace those made in the first half of 2019.

Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.

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