It’s been a busy morning for Virgin Voyages President and CEO Tom McAlpin. In a statement released to USA Today, McAlpin announced COVID-19 vaccinations would be mandatory for passengers and crew when the cruise line returns to operation this summer. He then joined Good Morning America to discuss the decision.
In his statement to USA Today, McAlpin cited the latest news regarding the United States’ vaccine rollout as the primary factor in their new requirement.
“Our goal is to ensure that we’re providing the safest travel experience which means vaccinations for both our crew and passengers. The is a step towards the safe return to sailing and is the right decision for Virgin Voyages. We’re really encouraged by the latest rollout plans in the May time frame from the new administration, and we know the future is about vaccinations,” McAlpin told the news outlet.
The brand new cruise line was on the cusp of their first ship setting sail with passengers last March when the industry was shut down by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. Since then, Virgin Voyages has not only completed construction on a second ship, but began construction on a third as well.
We caught up with Tom McAlpin last fall to chat about what cruisers can expect from the new ships. One of the focal points according to McAlpin will be food.
“We have a feature called Ship Eats where you can go on your app and order food to various different places around the ship. It’s a different way to experience cruising and we let you do things your way,” he said. “We have all these different great eateries you can make reservations online, you can have a virtual queue so you don’t have to wait in line somewhere.”
Guests have options like premium steak and seafood, Korean BBQ, high-end Mexican, Mediterranean, a noodle bar, burgers, pastries and even a 24-hour American diner.
McAlpin appeared on ABC’s Good Morning America this morning to discuss the vaccine decision with host Robin Roberts. You can watch the full interview below: