Two U.S. Cruise Lines Announce Vaccine Requirement

Two cruise lines based in the U.S. announced a COVID-19 vaccine requirement for all passengers and crew. American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines, under the same corporate umbrella, will require vaccinations beginning with the first sailing scheduled this summer. 

Victory cruise ship
Victory I, the first ship acquired by Victory Cruise Lines. Photo:  Victory Cruise Lines

American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines Vaccine Requirement

The two cruise lines’ vaccination requirement extends beyond passengers and onboard crew. Non-shipboard employees from both cruise lines will also be required to have the vaccine. 

Also mandatory are pre-cruise testing and screening for all guests and crew. Guests will need to arrive one day before embarkation in order to have a COVID-19 test as well as complete a health questionnaire.

Masks will be required in all public areas when social distance cannot be maintained or possible. Additionally, AQSC and VCL are working with leading health advisors that includes a partnership with VIKAND Medical Solutions. The two cruise lines are also in contact with the CDC for guidelines on how to best protect guests, crew and the people in the communities they visit.

When the Vaccine Will Be Required

The mandatory vaccination requirement for both American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines will be in effect for all itineraries beginning July 1, 2021. Based on the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) aspiration that Phase 1c of the vaccination allocation will include essential workers engaged in transportation, vaccinations should be available to be administered to crew members before the July 1 target date.

American Queen steamboat on the Mississippi
Yes, American Queen has the vaccine requirement too, even on the Mississippi. Photo: AQSC

Guests booked who have no intention of getting vaccinated or those who are unable to receive both doses of the COVID-19 vaccine prior to their scheduled trip, should contact their cruise line’s reservations department.

READ NEXT: CDC Issues Mandatory Mask-Wearing Requirement for Cruise Ship Guests

American Queen and Victory have enhanced health and safety protocols planned for cruising during this pandemic. From before embarkation and throughout the cruise, the two cruise lines’ health and safety procedures include a lengthy and comprehensive list of steps to take.

Before You Board 

  • Guests will check in at the pre-cruise hotel stay on the day before embarkation. Guests will then complete a health questionnaire and take a COVID-19 test.

  • The cruise lines’ vaccine requirement is mandated for all guests and crew on all sailings beginning July 1, 2021.

  • On embarkation morning, anyone who tested positive will not be allowed to board.

  • Luggage will be disinfected before it is brought on board and when it is removed from the ship.

  • When guests arrive at the gangway, facial recognition and temperature taking will be performed. This procedure will be used for all gangway access – on and off – by guests and crew.

  • Social distancing at disembarkation will be done in specified groups.

  • While the gangway is in use, it will be sanitized every half-hour.

Fewer Guests on Every Sailing

  • Each ship will have reduce the amount of guests.

  • All public spaces will have controlled capacity. This includes restaurants, bars and lounges, entertainment venues, pool deck, spa and fitness center 

  • Elevator capacity reduced.

  • Social distancing of at least six feet will be required outside of any individual’s travel party or immediate family.

Stateroom Cleaning and Sanitizing

  • All accommodations will be thoroughly cleaned and disinfected with hospital-grade EPA-approved solutions plus electrostatic fogging.

  • Guest corridors will be cleaned and disinfected regularly.

  • All guest accommodations will include disinfecting wipes for guests’ convenience.

  • Guest staterooms will be cleaned and disinfected with electrostatic fogging twice daily. 

How public spaces will be cleaned 

  • All public spaces will undergo continuous anti-microbial disinfection with medical-grade EPA-approved solutions.

  • Anti-viral electrostatic fogging will occur twice a day in all public and crew spaces plus supplemental overnight deep fogging.

  • Hand sanitizing stations with alcohol-based sanitizer will be placed at key locations throughout the ship.

  • UV-C light has been added to all main air handlers and all passenger and crew stateroom fan coil units to boost effective disinfecting and sanitizing against aerosolized microorganisms.

  • Air filtration and air quality are maintained to the highest industry standard on every ship.

Requirement for Masks On board

  • Masks will be required in all venues and in situations where recommended social distancing is not possible. This includes entertainment venues, elevators, shoreside terminals and while using shore excursion motor coaches.

  • Masks will be provided (one per guest) in each of the guest’s accommodations. Extra masks will be available, if needed.

Food and Beverage Service Protocols

  • Hand washing stations will be available outside each dining area.

  • Self-service buffets will be suspended. A new food and beverage concept will be launched with express breakfast and lunch options.

  • Hourly, crew will sanitize all high-touch surfaces in restaurant areas.

  • All tables, chairs and counter tops will be sanitized on the hour – or when vacated by the guest, whichever comes first.

  • All table items will be removed each time a table is vacated. All crockery, glassware and cutlery will be washed even if unused.

  • Menus will now be single-use paper printed and discarded after each use.

  • All self-service areas are currently suspended with assigned staff to assist guests with their selections.

With a little luck and a lot of diligence, let’s hope that these important steps initiated by AQSC and VCL, including the vaccine requirement to travel, help get cruises up and running again. 

READ MORE:  Victory Cruise Line Profile and Photos

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