Virgin Voyages will require vaccinations

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Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady. Virgin will require passengers and crew be vaccinated against Covid.
Virgin Voyages' Scarlet Lady. Virgin will require passengers and crew be vaccinated against Covid.

Virgin Voyages will require all passengers and crew on its ship to be vaccinated when it resumes service this summer. 

Speaking on "Good Morning America" (GMA) today, CEO Tom McAlpin pointed to President's Biden's declaration that by May the Covid-19 vaccine could be available to all adult Americans.

"We are an adults-only cruise business. It really fits for us and makes sense," he said. 

McAlpin said the vaccination requirement would extend to all crew, as well. "We think that's the right thing to do to create that safe environment," he said.  

When asked by GMA host Robin Roberts about plans in place if there is a Covid outbreak, McAlpin pointed to the line's Voyage Well Plan of safety protocols developed last year, but said the vaccine requirement makes an outbreak very unlikely.

"We are only accepting folks onboard that are vaccinated, we are testing everyone who gets onboard, so the likelihood of having an outbreak is very remote," he said.

Crystal Cruises last month became the first major North American ocean cruise brand to require that guests be vaccinated against Covid-19 prior to their cruise, following moves by sister brands American Queen Steamboat Co. and Victory Cruise Lines, the first cruise companies catering to North Americans to mandate the vaccine for passengers, and Saga Cruises, a U.K. line.

In a follow-up statement today, McAlpin said that the vaccination requirement is "a step toward 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. We're an adult-only cruise line, which allows for us to offer a highly controlled, safe environment for everyone on board. Our business makes us uniquely set up to do this with testing and vaccine travel requirements."

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