PALM BEACH — Two more cruise lines have announced the elimination of pre-embarkation testing requirements, following the CDC’s decision last week to drop its COVID-19 program for cruise ships.
Both Virgin Voyages and Margaritaville at Sea (previously known as Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line) have announced their eased protocols in light the discontinuation of the CDC’s cruise program, which came into effect on July 18. The program, which aimed to regulate health and safety protocols across cruise ships in U.S. waters, included such measures as COVID-19 testing for guests and crew as well as a colour-coding system that measured the number of cases onboard.
According to the CDC’s website, with the elimination of the cruise program, cruise ships now have “access to guidance and tools to manage their own COVID-19 mitigation programs,” and that “cruise travellers have access to recommendations that allow them to make informed decisions about cruise ship travel.”
As of July 24, Virgin Voyages has removed pre-embarkation testing for sailings on EU sailings, and from July 27 on U.S. sailings. Vaccine requirements will remain in place for both Scarlet Lady, operating out of the U.S., and Valiant Lady in the EU. The cruise line is currently evaluating this policy and will announce further updates in the near future.
Here is an overview of the updates:
- From the dates mentioned above, passengers will no longer be required to complete a pre-embarkation COVID test, applicable across the fleet, including U.S. and EU operations.
- For U.S. sailings, passenger vaccination requirements will now be marked at 90%. This opens the opportunity for passengers who are not vaccinated to contact Virgin Voyages’ Sailor Services to book a sailing if these thresholds are met.
- Ship crew on all U.S. and EU sailings will maintain their fully vaccinated status.
Other safety protocols implemented during the pandemic, including enhanced air purification systems and deep cleaning/sanitization, will be maintained.
For more information go to https://www.virginvoyages.com/voyage-well.
MARGARITAVILLA AT SEA
Margaritaville at Sea removed pre-embarkation testing for all sailings as of July 23 for vaccinated guests.
Crew members are still required to maintain their fully vaccinated status as well as adhere to enhanced safety and hygiene protocols onboard.
In accordance with CDC guidance, unvaccinated guests will continue to be required to present a negative antigen COVID-19 prior to sailing, completed no more than one day before departure. The cruise line also recommends that vaccinated guests continue to complete testing in advance of departure.
“With the CDC’s removal of the pre-embarkation testing requirement, we are hopeful and pleased that the travel and cruising industries are sailing towards a new normal,” said Oneil Khosa, Chief Executive Officer. “Margaritaville at Sea’s vaccinated guests will no longer be required to undergo testing prior to boarding, making it quicker and easier than ever to escape to paradise.”
For more information go to www.MargaritavilleatSea.com.