Crystal makes it clear: No vaccine, no cruise

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The Crystal Endeavor is scheduled to resume sailing in August.
The Crystal Endeavor is scheduled to resume sailing in August.

Crystal Cruises will require that guests be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least two weeks prior to their cruise, when the luxe line resumes service on its river and ocean ships.

Crystal said its crew will be expected to be vaccinated, as well, when the company resumes sailing, but "this may not be a viable option for all crew members given their age and/or the availability of vaccines in their home countries." Once vaccines are widely available, crew vaccinations will be a requirement of employment.

The vaccine requirement is part of the Crystal Clean+ 4.0 measures, which include a negative Covid test for both guests and crew prior to embarkation, temperature checks at the terminal prior to boarding, mask and social distancing guidelines, enhanced cleaning and disinfection measures and reduced capacity. Guests will need to provide proof of vaccination before embarkation.

"We know that peace of mind is the greatest luxury; and the vaccine requirement is simply the best way to ensure the safest possible Crystal experience for all onboard," Crystal's interim CEO, Jack Anderson, said in a statement. "This sentiment is underscored by conversations with our guests and travel partners," he added, as well as a recent Cruise Critic survey that found that more than 80% of respondents would cruise if a vaccine were required.

• Related: Upscale cruise lines more likely to require vaccines

Crystal follows three other brands this month that said they would require passengers to be inoculated. Sister brands American Queen Steamboat Co. and Victory Cruise Lines were the first cruise companies catering to North Americans to mandate that passengers have full Covid-19 vaccinations in order to sail, beginning July 1, and Saga Cruises, based in the U.K., implemented the requirement for its sailings launching in May.

Currently, Crystal's river fleet is paused through May; its ocean ships into June; the Crystal Esprit yacht and its newbuild expedition ship, the Crystal Endeavor, into August. Crystal said this will give most travelers sufficient time to get fully vaccinated before sailing.

Among the larger cruise companies Royal Caribbean Group said last week that it would require all crew to be vaccinated, while Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings previously indicated it would do the same. Carnival Corp.'s CEO said this week that it was too soon to decide.

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