Royal Caribbean to Require Crew to Be Vaccinated
"The vaccines are a way to build protection for you, your loved ones and our guests."
Royal Caribbean expects vaccinations will be required for all crew going forward, a company spokesman confirmed to Travel Leisure on Friday.
The cruise line, which resumed sailings in Singapore in December, is still working on a timeline for the vaccines. The spokesman said a decision had not yet been announced about whether passengers would have to be vaccinated as well.
"We have been working hard, in collaboration with government entities, scientists and experts to continue to develop our plan to keep our guests, crew and communities we visit safe," a letter to employees read. "The new COVID-19 vaccines present a new opportunity to do just that. The vaccines are a way to build protection for you, your loved ones and our guests.
"So far, several vaccines have shown to be effective at preventing both mild and severe symptoms of COVID-19, and we intend to make them a key component of our healthy return to service," the letter continued. "Therefore, we expect vaccinations will be required for our crew as part of our plan for your return to working on our ships."
The decision follows a similar one from Norwegian Cruise Line and Regent Seven Seas Cruises, which said last month they would look to vaccinate all crew members before returning to sailing. Additionally, it comes after several cruise lines, including two in the U.S., announced they would require all passengers to be vaccinated before boarding.
The concept also extends beyond just cruise ships. Earlier this month, Etihad Airways became the first airline in the world to vaccinate 100% of its pilots and cabin crew, while Singapore Airlines has been working to do the same. Several countries have also embraced the idea of vaccine passports, including the Seychelles, Iceland, and Denmark.
Most of Royal Caribbean's sailings remain on pause through at least April 30th, according to the company, but the cruise line is still looking toward the future. A date has yet to be set for the test sailings, which are required as part of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's "Conditional Sail" Order, but the cruise line has plenty of interest lined up for when one is.
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.