Another cruise line has made the decision to require a COVID-19 vaccine for passengers when they resume operation. Windstar Cruises made the decision based on the best health and wellness interests of its guests, crew, and the places their yachts visit.
Christopher Prelog, Windstar’s President, called it the most responsible course of action for a return to operation.
“Vaccination is another layer of safety for all of us, and it’s the responsible course of action as our yachts resume cruising and our guests travel the world,” he said.
At the cruise terminal prior to embarkation, passengers will be required to provide proof of a completed current vaccine course (one or two shots, depending on the brand) finished at least 14 days prior to the embarkation date. Negative COVID-19 test results will also be required prior to embarkation.
“Looking at the science behind the virus, we see consistent recommendations for wearing masks, social distancing, testing, and enhanced cleaning. In response, Windstar developed a new Beyond Ordinary Care program, which is a multi-layered strategy with key hospital-grade elements: HEPA filters and UV-C germicidal irradiation to filter and disinfect the air, plus backpack sprayers to sanitize all surfaces throughout our yachts,” said Andrew Todd, CEO, Windstar and parent company Xanterra Travel Collection.
Citing the current reports about vaccination availability, Windstar Cruises feels confident that anyone who wishes to sail will have the opportunity to receive the vaccine prior to embarkation. Crew members on board Windstar’s six sailing yachts will all be vaccinated prior to a return to operation.
The cruise line notes that the decision is a fluid one and should more information come to light or if the CDC change their guidelines, then the decision to require vaccines will be revisited. Windstar says they will periodically review all COVID-19 policies for updates as the pandemic evolves.
Windstar will restart operations in June 2021 in a phased manner, with initial cruises at a reduced guest occupancy, some modified itineraries, and with enhanced health and safety protocols. To provide guests with greater flexibility, Windstar has moved the final payment date from 120 days to 60 days prior to cruise departure.
The timeline for resumption of operations is:
Star Breeze – June 19, 2021 – Caribbean
Wind Star – June 19, 2021 – Mediterranean
Wind Spirit – July 15, 2021 – Tahiti
Wind Surf – August 8, 2021 – Mediterranean
Star Legend – Sept 4, 2021 – Northern Europe
Star Pride – November 3, 2021 – Caribbean