October 17, 2021

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Norwegian making COVID-19 vaccine mandatory for crew

The cruise industry has been anything but smooth sailing during the coronavirus pandemic. Now, one major liner is mandating all crew members be vaccinated before boarding.

Norwegian Cruise Line is exploring options to help get its crew members and guests vaccinated for COVID-19 before voyages, a spokesperson confirmed to Fox News.

Norwegian wants to make COVID vaccine mandatory for crew and passengers. (Terje Pedersen/NTB Scanpix via AP)

Norwegian wants to make COVID vaccine mandatory for crew and passengers. (Terje Pedersen/NTB Scanpix via AP)

“We are exploring all options regarding vaccinations for guests and crew and it is our intention that all crew members be vaccinated before boarding our vessels to begin their duties, subject to availability of the vaccine,” a spokesperson for Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd. said in a statement.

“We will continue to partner with global and domestic authorities and the Healthy Sail Panel, our team of leading expert advisors, to explore all options necessary to protect guests, crew and the communities visited.”

Norwegian declined to say whether the cruise line was considering making vaccinations mandatory for guests at this time.

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Business Insider first reported news of Norwegian requiring vaccines for crew on Saturday. 

Norwegian’s new requirement comes after an international liner issued a similar mandate last week. U.K.-based Saga Cruiselines, which runs cruises for passengers 50 and up, said it would require passengers boarding its next voyages to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to saillings. Saga’s first voyage following the temporary suspension of its cruises is slated for May 4. 

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention last year issued guidelines advising against cruise travel, saying the risk of contracting the virus was “very high.” The CDC noted in the guidance that travelers with “increased risk for severe illness” should avoid cruises altogether.

Those who do wish to embark on cruise travel are advised to get tested three to five days after the trip and self-isolate for seven days, regardless of test results.

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The cruise industry has been hit particularly hard during the pandemic, following large outbreaks on cruise ships in early 2020. Princess Cruises was hit particularly hard early on in February 2020, when the Diamond Princess experienced an outbreak that eventually infected more than 700 guests and resulted in the death of at least 13.

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