Few commercial sectors have been battered by COVID-19 as badly as the cruise industry, which came to a screeching halt at roughly this time one year ago. The CDC first signed its No-Sail Order on March 14, 2020, and cruise ships around the globe, already in mid-voyage, scrambled for somewhere they could safely put into port.
Throughout the news cycle, stories swirled about passengers and crew being stranded at sea, and (if there was reason to suspect infection onboard), confined to their cabins for days, even weeks, on end. Soon, ships were being turned away for fear that they might carry the COVID-19 virus, even in the absence of any evidence.
There was simply no precedent or playbook for dealing with such scenarios, the thought of being stuck aboard a cruise ship as this uncontrolled contagion was spreading around the world soon became everyone’s worst vacation nightmare.
While other parts of the travel industry—on air and land—have been able to continue or restart their operations to some degree, with so much on the line, neither authorities nor operators have been willing to test the waters when it came to relaunching large-scale cruising.
At the end of October 2020, the CDC replaced its No-Sail Order with a new Framework for Conditional Sailing Order, outlining the new parameters under which cruise lines must operate before being cleared to start sailing again.
Now, at last, with COVID-19 vaccination distribution accelerating every day, cruise lines are getting ready to roll out their next-level standards and restart operations. Knowing that one false step could set them well back, especially in terms of public perception, several major cruise lines have chosen to require their guests to be fully vaccinated prior to boarding.
Ahead, let’s take a look at a handful of major American cruise companies that have made their vaccination policies public thus far…