With the travel industry responsible for billions of dollars around the world, it comes as little surprise that businesses in the industry are searching for the best way to ensure travel can restart again in a safe manner sooner rather than later. As vaccination campaigns pick up the pace around the world, there is one solution that is already being considered by a growing list of travel companies – tickets for vaccinated passengers.
Royal Caribbean, giants of the cruise industry, have begun offering cruises for fully vaccinated passengers. Here’s a look at the decision they’ve taken, as well as a look at other companies offering similar opportunities.
Cruise For Vaccinated Passengers – Information for Travelers
Yesterday morning, Royal Caribbean announced that they were going to offer a cruise for fully-vaccinated passengers in May, which would make them the first cruise line to offer such an opportunity. According to the cruise line, both crew and passengers above the age of 16 are required to have received a full course of the Covid-19 vaccine in order to be able to take part in the cruise. The cruise is only available for Israelis.
The cruise is scheduled to depart from Israel, and will be on Royal Caribbean’s newest ship, Odyssey of the Seas. The options on offer are three-night to seven-night round trip voyages, departing from Haifa and visiting the Greek Isles and Cyprus. Odyssey of the Sea was originally intended to sail in Rome, before making its way over to Florida, but the uncertainty of the situation in Europe is behind the change of plans.
Whilst having previously signaled their intent to vaccinate some crew members, alongside other cruise lines like Costa Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, the decision to fully vaccinate their crew is a newer development by the company. At present, there is no timeline for when this is due to take place.
Israel currently is leading the races towards complete inoculation of its citizens, with around 4.6 million of its 9 million citizens having received at least one dose of the vaccine – giving the country the fastest per capita pace of vaccinations. More than a third of Israelis have received both doses.
In a statement, Israel’s President Benjamin Netanyahu described Royal Caribbean’s decision to use Israel as the port of departure “a significant expression of confidence in our policy,” and “an important economic, touristic moment for the State of Israel”. A spokesperson for Royal Caribbean added “with the vaccine rollout in Israel going so well, we felt it was wonderful opportunity to work with Israel and offer sailings for the market.”
For the thousands who have had cruises cancelled in the US and elsewhere around the world, the decision provides hope and potential solutions to what has been a tricky period for customers and businesses alike.
Vaccinations In Other Travel Industry Areas
Cruise lines aren’t the only sector of the travel industry to consider vaccinations in order to continue operations. Several airlines have also committed to vaccinating their crew, in order to keep them safe and give passengers peace of mind. In February, Etihad Airways announced that they were the first airline to have 100% vaccinated crew on board, whilst Singapore Airlines joined them in this feat not long after. The question of vaccine passports for travelers is still a controversial one, yet the IATA’s Travel Pass is expected to be ready in a matter of weeks.
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Disclaimer: Current travel rules and restrictions can change without notice. The decision to travel is ultimately your responsibility. Contact your consulate and/or local authorities to confirm your nationality’s entry and/or any changes to travel requirements before traveling. Travel Off Path does not endorse traveling against government advisories