May 6. With the CDC’s recent commitment to a mid-July cruise restart from U.S. ports, cruise lines are facing what is predicted to be a daunting challenge: vaccinating their tens of thousands of crew members.
In the U.S., the CDC recently decided to allow cruise lines to skip test sailings if 98% of a ship’s crew is vaccinated, and it had previously recommended that all cruise ship crew have a Covid-19 vaccine, putting pressure on U.S. brands to do so, and fast.
In response, several U.S. cruise ports recently stepped forward to offer cruise ship crew vaccination; two have already publicly administered vaccines to crew coming off nearby vessels.
Nine hundred crew from Royal Caribbean’s Freedom of the Seas and Navigator of the Seas were vaccinated at PortMiami on May 1, and Independence of the Seas crew were vaccinated on Wednesday; 300 crew members on two Carnival ships, the Carnival Breeze and Carnival Vista, were vaccinated during a May 3 rally to support the resumption of cruising at the Port of Galveston in Texas. MSC Cruises said it is scheduled to begin crew vaccinations for crew on its U.S. based ships on May 7 at PortMiami.
The week before that, Port Canaveral said it would sponsor Covid-19 vaccine distribution to port workers and vessel crew members. Capt. John Murray, the port’s CEO, said that he has been working closely with cruise lines and the Florida Department of Health “to come up with a plan and timeline for vaccinating cruise ship crews that could begin the process for a safe return to cruising.”
Helping cruise companies vaccinate their workers was part of the reason that nations like Greece and Israel have been able to lure so many ships to launch service and call on their ports starting this spring.
Source: Travel Weekly