Home Photo: Virgin Voyage
Richard Branson’s cruise line, Virgin Voyage, has stopped requiring passengers to be tested before commencing travel, becoming the first major cruise line in the United States to phase out testing for travel.
According to the company, the new rules will be effective from July 24 for the visit of the Valiant Lady and on July 27 for the visit of the Scarlet Lady. Most passengers will still need to be vaccinated on board, but the cruise line said it would open up to 10% of its capacity to unvaccinated cruise passengers.
Full vaccination of the entire team will continue.
According to Virgin Voyages, the new policy comes “in response to the closure of CDC’s voluntary program for the cruise industry.”
Earlier this week, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) officially ended its pandemic-era program for cruise ships, deciding to stop displaying the number of COVID-19 cases online . , The move comes months after the agency allowed its conditional selling order to expire, a policy that was first implemented when the agency lifted the previous no selling order in October 2020.
Many cruise lines have since stopped limiting capacity on cruise ships, including Virgin Voyage, as well as relaxed onboard masking policies such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean and Carnival Cruise Line.
The CDC currently recommends that all passengers be “up to date” on their COVID-19 vaccinations before boarding a cruise ship, “strongly” recommending that cruise ships be tested within one day of boarding. require, and ask cruise lines to “consider” with operations. At least 90% of passengers and 95% of crew up to date on their COVID-19 vaccinations.
While Virgin Voyage is the first cruise line to change its testing policy for departures in the United States, others have eliminated testing for departures outside the country, such as Azamara, which told Travel Leisure it would will end the test. Where they are not required by local country rules until 25 July, including departures from Amsterdam, Barcelona and Southampton, England.
Norwegian Cruise Line has ended testing for vaccinated passengers on all cruises departing from the United States, Canada or any port except Piraeus, Greece.