Virgin Voyages is the latest cruise line to announce that all crew and guests must be vaccinated against COVID-19 before sailing. Tom McAlpin, Virgin Voyages' CEO, said "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. Our business makes us uniquely set up to do this with testing and vaccine travel requirements."
In addition, on March 17th, P&O Cruises has announced a vaccine requirement for guests as well. This applies to their newly launched cruises solely for UK residents. While most cruise lines require that guests' vaccine regimen be completed 14 days before departure, to allow plenty of time for immunity to kick in, P&O is allowing guests to sail within 7 days of their vaccination. P&O said that the decision was made due to the "advanced progress of the UK vaccination program and strong expressed preference on the part of our guests."
For Great Lake Cruising only one cruise line has announced a requirement that all guests be vaccinated. Pearl Seas, Viking Expeditions and Ponant have said they will have comprehensive testing, but Victory Cruise Lines announced they would require 100% of crew and guests to be vaccinated before sailing.
Source: Business Insider
With the worldwide drop in travel due to COVID-19, many of our guests have been at home for more than a year now. In fact, it has been exactly a year since the European Union closed its borders to outside travelers. At the time of this writing, the new surge in cases and hospitalizations in Europe don't bode well for a strong European travel season in the Summer of 2021. Also, Transport Canada has closed the door on any cruise ship activity anywhere along the Canadian border, including Great Lakes Cruises until February, 2022.
This combination of factors means that most people will have gone through two full summer travel seasons without any long-haul trips or cruises. While this has been a disaster for the travel industry, it also represents a huge pent-up demand for travel once the world opens up again.
Consider what happened this month when cruise lines opened up their 2022 and 2023. Most major cruise lines - including Norwegian, Crystal Cruises, Oceania and Regent Seven Seas - reported the biggest booking days in the history of their company. Airlines are reporting strong sales and are planning to bring 100% of their fleet back into service for the summer of 2022. Even the iconic San Fermin festival in Spain says that the Running of the Bulls 2022 will be the most in-demand year ever for this European summer fiesta.
If you're in the market to travel in 2022, we think it will be an exciting way to get out and celebrate the re-opening of the world. We also believe it will be a challenging year, due to all the competition for a scarce number of cabins, hotel rooms, flights, etc. We encourage you to book as early as possible to get one step ahead of the crowds.
U.S. Representative Peter DeFazio (D-Ore) and Representative Sam Graves (R-Mo) have sent a letter to Candian ambassador to the U.S., Kirsten Hillman addressing Transport Canada's decision to ban all cruise ships carrying over 100 people until February, 2022.
The two top-ranking members of the U.S. House Committee on Transportation and Infrastructure sent the letter to underscore the economic importance of cruising to both Canada and the USA. While the pandemic devastated cruising in 2020, cruise lines have hoped for a successful, and safe return to cruising in 2021. The Canadian order effectively shut down cruising on the Great Lakes until 2022.
Their letter stated, "As public servants, we must focus on protecting the public health and safety of citizens, while at the same time providing opportunities for economic recovery," the letter says, adding that prepandemic, the cruise industry generated $2.85 billion in direct economic spending and supported more than 53,000 jobs in the regions impacted by Canada's cruise ban (Alaska, Washington state, the Great Lakes and New England) and nearly $1.5 billion in spending and 30,000 Canadian jobs.
Source: Travel Weekly