Virgin Voyages introduced as we speak that, following the ending of the COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships from the U.S. Facilities for Illness Management and Prevention (CDC), the cruise line can be ending its pre-cruise testing requirement for sailings from the U.S. as of July 27, 2022.
That is the primary cruise line to discontinue pre-cruise COVID-19 testing from a U.S. homeport.
Testing to Finish
In an announcement on the “Voyage Effectively” web page of its web site, Virgin Voyages has confirmed it’ll finish pre-cruise COVID-19 testing.
“In response to the discontinuation of the CDC’s Voluntary Program for the Cruise Business, we’re updating our insurance policies,” the announcement reads.
“We’re eradicating the requirement for a COVID-19 take a look at to board as of seven/24/22 (for Valiant Girl) and seven/27/22 (for Scarlet Girl).”
Whereas the Virgin Voyages fleet is small – simply the 2 vessels – this can be a vital step for the cruise business.
Valiant Girl is the cruise line’s youngest ship, having simply launched into her maiden voyage in March, and she or he is at the moment providing 7-night roundtrip Mediterranean sailings from Barcelona.
A lot of cruise strains in Europe have already ended pre-cruise testing on chosen voyages in keeping with native protocols, together with Azamara Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, and Viking Cruises, so this transfer is just not as gorgeous nor stunning.
Scarlet Girl is the ship that U.S. cruisers will wish to watch, as that vessel – the flagship of the Virgin Voyages fleet – is at the moment providing 4- and 5-night itineraries from Miami, Florida.
Pre-cruise COVID-19 testing has been required by all cruise strains crusing from U.S. homeports because the cruise restart started in July 2021. Now that the CDC’s pointers are not necessary however solely really helpful, cruise strains can replace their insurance policies on a person foundation.
Different Protocols to Stay
Whereas the tip of the testing requirement is a robust step, Virgin Voyages is sustaining its different well being and security protocols.
“We would like our Sailors to be reassured that we’ve got the strongest protocols in place to maintain our Sailors and Crew nicely — together with vaccine necessities, particular air filtration, decreased capability, and rigorous cleansing,” the web site reads.
All visitors will nonetheless be required to fill out pre-cruise well being questionnaires, in addition to abide by all native laws, together with masks carrying if required.
Virgin Voyages is requiring 90% of passengers to be vaccinated, and 100% of the ships’ crew is vaccinated. Different onboard protocols embody frequent cleansing and sanitizing, improved air filtration, and varied contact-less interactions to raised promote social distancing.
A Distinctive Cruise Line
Virgin Voyages is uniquely poised to be the primary to eradicate pre-cruise testing, not solely due to the small measurement of the fleet, but additionally due to the character of the adults-only firm.
Not solely should all passengers be over the age of 18 (due to this fact making all passengers eligible for vaccination), however the line additionally has fewer onboard insurance policies and actions that would contribute to the transmission of communicable ailments.
For instance, not one of the line’s vessels has a buffet or any self-serve eatery choice, due to this fact eliminating the chance from shared serving utensils or crowded serving stations.
The cruise additionally already leverages quite a lot of contact-less applied sciences to eradicate strains and crowding, resembling Digital Queues for onboard actions. This allows visitors to keep up distance with out lacking any experiences onboard.
Virgin Voyages additionally led the way in which with saying its well being and security protocols when cruising first resumed, so it’s no shock that this edgy line is the primary to eradicate pre-cruise testing.
Keep tuned to Cruise Hive for updates and bulletins on which cruise strains could also be subsequent!