Passengers who travel aboard Royal Caribbean International and its subsidiary, Celebrity Cruises, will have to be vaccinated for the CCP virus when cruises resume in June, officials said.
Royal Caribbean will provide cruises to the Bahamas and Mexico in June, the company said.
“Travelers looking ahead to their summer vacations can book their roundtrip cruise as soon as Wednesday, March 24 and set sail starting June 12. The new itineraries departing through August, which will sail with vaccinated crew, will be available to adult guests who are fully vaccinated against COVID-19,” the cruise operator said in a statement.
Passengers who are under the age of 18 have to test negative for the CCP virus, the release added.
“The vaccines are clearly a game-changer for all of us, and with the number of vaccinations and their impact growing rapidly, we believe starting with cruises for vaccinated adult guests and crew is the right choice,” Michael Bayley, president and CEO of Royal Caribbean, stated. “As we move forward, we expect this requirement and other measures will inevitably evolve over time.”
Celebrity Cruises, which is owned by Royal Caribbean, also announced it will restart cruises in June that leave from St. Maarten.
It isn’t clear if the company will expand the vaccination requirement for future cruises.
The announcement comes as some companies and elected officials have posited COVID-19 “vaccine passports” for air travel or other services. Some Republicans and civil liberties proponents have raised red flags about such measures, saying they would essentially create separate classes of citizens.
Former UK Prime Minister Tony Blair recently stated that the “world is moving in this direction,” adding that he couldn’t see another way of this,” in reference to so-called immunity passports.
Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis last week said that “vaccine passports” would be a “terrible idea” for his state.
“We are definitely not going to require anything from the state’s perspective. That is totally off the table,” DeSantis, a Republican, told reporters on March 18. “If I have businesses that want to do that in Florida, I think that that’s more than just a private decision.”
The World Health Organization (WHO) has urged countries not to use a CCP virus vaccine passport system due to how vaccines are being rolled out and distributed worldwide. And meanwhile, CCP mouthpiece the Global Times suggested earlier in March that the Chinese regime should build an international “vaccine passport” system.
“Chinese experts noted on Tuesday that China can help by sharing its experience with and provide technical support to the WHO to organize the issue,” the Global Times wrote. “China is the most experienced country in using a health code system in the world, while the WHO is the most proper organizer for the matter to ensure independence, fairness, and data security.”