As more and more people are being vaccinated against COVID-19, several cruise lines have recently announced that they will only take on board vaccinated travelers from home ports in the Bahamas.
Immediately, this announcement was both welcomed and condemned by cruisers, many of whom are already vaccinated or planning to book sailboats soon. Opponents of vaccination, now or in the future, have called for a boycott of cruise lines like Royal Caribbean.
travel consultants asked what they think and how clients assess the situation. Many felt that this was part of the current security measures, and the customers understood this.
We have had no negative feedback from customers about the cruise line’s requirement for vaccinations, said Jeremy Hall of Cruise Vacations International. I have the impression that the cruising public is aware of the required safety measures and that most are quite willing to abide by them.
With vaccines already available, Hall has seen increased activity.
We’ve seen a boom in bookings lately, and when our older clients get their second dose, they call us almost simultaneously to plan their next adventure, he says.
Valerie Dorsey, a luxury travel specialist at Cruise Planners, said she thought the vaccinations would be a big boost to business.
This will give people much more confidence in the safety of driving, Dorsey said. People are already calling me to say they’ve been vaccinated. I think consumers want that extra assurance after a long delay in resuming sailing.
She thinks the vaccine gives her some comfort, too.
I’m trying to sign up for a cruise to the Caribbean, and I’m doing that because I’m fully vaccinated and will feel comfortable with others who have the same protection, she said. I don’t think if we just start vaccine cruises, we will start again before the pandemic is over, if ever.
Cruise genius Scott Lara has discovered that his clients choose alternative vacations when they’re not interested in vaccinations.
I am very concerned that many Americans will be severely affected by smallpox and will not go on a cruise if vaccination becomes mandatory, Lara said. More and more of my clients are booking their vacations at all-inclusive resorts in Cancun, the Dominican Republic and Jamaica.
Tammy Levent, CEO of Elite Travel, sees her clients booking land vacations and says many of them don’t want to get vaccinated.
The number of trips is increasing, and I get a lot of calls, and that [vaccines] is the biggest concern people have, Levent said. However, we have not received any calls to book cruises.
Levent is very interested in traveling to other destinations, such as Mexico, the Caribbean, Las Vegas and Hawaii, to name a few.
Brad Strigel, a consultant and franchisee with Cruise Planners, also thinks the vaccination requirements are a bad idea and says there could be legal ramifications.
Sanctioning or enforcing unapproved drugs can have negative policy implications, from possible negative side effects that have yet to be discovered to disputes with travel companies, he said. Legal action has already been taken around the world and at least 18 European countries have halted production of AstraZeneca’s COVID-19 vaccine to investigate possible side effects.
Following the recent announcement of the Caribbean cruise departure, ASTA urged the Biden administration and the CDC to allow the cruises to begin on the 1st. July 2021 from ports in the US.
We expect Americans who are ready for a cruise to begin their trip with a flight to the Caribbean rather than directly to Miami or Ft. Lauderdale to fly, said Zane Kirby, ASTA president and CEO. Recognizing that vaccination rates are rising while infection and mortality rates are falling, these forward-thinking Caribbean islands are now home to some of the largest cruise ships in the world. Instead, the CDC continues to passively stand by and lift cruise restrictions that threaten livelihoods and communities in South Florida, the de facto cruise capital of the world, and far beyond. It is unfortunate that the intransigence of the CDC has brought us to this point.
Therefore, we ask the CDC to immediately lift the restrictions on cruises and 1. Setting a July date for the resumption of cruises from U.S. ports.
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