P&O Cruises Australia, one of the most popular brands Down Under, earlier this week, revealed it would be requiring all passengers to be vaccinated before stepping onboard their ships.
In a cruise forum, hosted by the Cruise Lines International Association, a body that represents the multi-billion-dollar tourism industry, Sture Myrmell, the president of P&O Cruises Australia, broke the news to travel agents and the press.
We want to make cruising as safe as it can be. And there is a clear community sentiment that vaccinations should be a requirement. It’s happening overseas. And when cruising resumes here in Australia, P&O Cruises has listened to the community and will make vaccinations a requirement of sailing.”
Mr Myrmell also told the forum that children who were eligible to be vaccinated, which currently stands at kids aged 12 and above, will be allowed to cruise. He also said the line would be following the government’s recommendation for children under the age of 12.
P&O is just one of the multiple brands under the global Carnival Corporations company, which is also the owner of brands like Princess Cruises, Cunard, Seabourn, Holland America Line and Carnival Cruises Australia.
While he would not say what other cruise lines in the fleet would do, he said, “Each line will make their own decision, but we believe that the other brands will follow suit to P&O Cruises,” he said.
His announcement underscores that cruise lines are not united over vaccinations, despite huge public demand that crews and passengers be vaccinated.
Overseas, Norwegian Cruise Line was one of the first to make vaccinations mandatory in America, taking the issue to court.
When Florida introduced new local laws preventing cruise lines from mandating passengers disclose their vaccination status, NCL disputed the decision which was then won in court.
Luxury line Regent Seven Seas and upper premium Oceania Cruises, which are under the Norwegian Cruise Line Corporation brand will also require all passengers and crew to be vaccinated.
Viking, luxury expedition line Ponant and Hurtigruten also have made vaccinations mandatory for passengers. “In order to provide the safest cruise experience possible, all guests and crew will need to be fully vaccinated for all sailings embarking through December 31, 2021,” a Norwegian spokesperson said.
But some cruise lines overseas are requiring unvaccinated passengers to purchase travel insurance and there are limitations for those who have not been jabbed. Royal Caribbean overseas mandates a minimum of US$25,000 for medical expenses and at least US$50,000 for emergency medical evacuations with no COVID-19 exclusions.
Carnival Cruise Lines in America and Disney require a minimum of US$10,000 in coverage in medical expenses and at least $30,000 in medical evacuation coverage without any COVID-19 exclusions.