Another major cruise line says you’ll need a COVID-19 vaccine to sail

Mar 16, 2021

This post contains references to products from one or more of our advertisers. We may receive compensation when you click on links to those products. Terms apply to the offers listed on this page. For an explanation of our Advertising Policy, visit this page.

Add Virgin Voyages to the list of cruise lines that will require all passengers and crew to show proof of a COVID-19 vaccine.

The new Richard Branson-backed cruise company, which has yet to officially debut, announced the new policy on Tuesday and said it would apply to all departures once the line starts up sailings later this year.

Virgin Voyages’ first official sailings are currently scheduled for July, after being pushed back multiple times due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.

For more cruise news, reviews and tips, sign up for TPG’s cruise newsletter.

“Our goal is to ensure that we’re providing the safest travel experience, which means vaccinations for both our crew and passengers,” Virgin Voyages president and CEO Tom McAlpin said Tuesday in a statement to The Points Guy. “The is a step toward the safe return to sailing and is the right decision for Virgin Voyages.”

In the statement, McAlpin also said that the company was “really encouraged” by the latest rollout plans for the COVID-19 vaccine announced by President Biden.

“We know the future is about vaccinations,” McAlpin said. “We’re an adult-only cruise line, which allows for us to offer a highly controlled, safe environment for everyone on board. Our business makes us uniquely set up to do this with testing and vaccine travel requirements.”

Related: The best credit cards for booking cruises

The new Virgin Voyages ship Scarlet Lady. (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)

McAlpin said there was huge pent-up demand for travel, and “Virgin Voyages will be ready to welcome you aboard soon.”

Virgin Voyages is joining luxury line Crystal Cruises and British-focused Saga Cruises in announcing a vaccine requirement for passengers. Two very small U.S.-based cruise operators — river line American Queen Steamboat Company and sister brand Victory Cruise Lines — also have announced a vaccine requirement.

In addition, Royal Caribbean recently said that all adults sailing on soon-to-launch Mediterranean voyages out of Israel would be required to show proof of a vaccine. The trips only will be open to local residents of the country.

Virgin Voyages’ first ship, Scarlet Lady, was initially scheduled to begin voyages out of Miami in early 2020. But its maiden voyage has been delayed four times due to the pandemic. Its official arrival is now 16 months behind schedule. 

The debut of Virgin Voyages was one of the most anticipated cruise industry events of 2020. The line has been promising to shake things up in the cruise world with the arrival of Scarlet Lady. Able to carry 2,770 passengers at double occupancy and 17 decks high, the vessel is designed to cater to a hipster crowd with everything from a tattoo parlor and drag queen brunches to a colorful karaoke lounge. To ensure a proper party vibe, it’s also a kid-free travel zone, with a minimum age to sail of 18.

Related: The key number that will tell us when cruising will resume 

Virgin Voyages is going after travelers who might think themselves too cool to cruise. To that end, Scarlet Lady has no buffets, no dress codes and no big Broadway-style theater shows. For entertainment, expect interactive dance parties, DJ sets and “microplays” instead, plus late-night games of dodgeball. Oh, and the suites have a rock-star theme, of course.

A second Virgin Voyages vessel, Valiant Lady, is scheduled to debut in November.

Planning a cruise? Start with these stories:

Featured image of courtesy of Virgin Voyages 

Chase Sapphire Preferred® Card

WELCOME OFFER: 80,000 Points

TPG'S BONUS VALUATION*: $1,650

CARD HIGHLIGHTS: 2X points on all travel and dining, points transferrable to over a dozen travel partners

*Bonus value is an estimated value calculated by TPG and not the card issuer. View our latest valuations here.

Apply Now
More Things to Know
  • Earn 80,000 bonus points after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening. That's $1,000 when you redeem through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. Plus earn up to $50 in statement credits towards grocery store purchases within your first year of account opening.
  • Earn 2X points on dining including eligible delivery services, takeout and dining out and travel. Plus, earn 1 point per dollar spent on all other purchases.
  • Get 25% more value when you redeem for airfare, hotels, car rentals and cruises through Chase Ultimate Rewards®. For example, 80,000 points are worth $1,000 toward travel.
  • With Pay Yourself Back℠, your points are worth 25% more during the current offer when you redeem them for statement credits against existing purchases in select, rotating categories.
  • Get unlimited deliveries with a $0 delivery fee and reduced service fees on eligible orders over $12 for a minimum of one year with DashPass, DoorDash's subscription service. Activate by 12/31/21.
  • Count on Trip Cancellation/Interruption Insurance, Auto Rental Collision Damage Waiver, Lost Luggage Insurance and more.
  • Get up to $60 back on an eligible Peloton Digital or All-Access Membership through 12/31/2021, and get full access to their workout library through the Peloton app, including cardio, running, strength, yoga, and more. Take classes using a phone, tablet, or TV. No fitness equipment is required.
Regular APR
15.99%-22.99% Variable
Annual Fee
$95
Balance Transfer Fee
Either $5 or 5% of the amount of each transfer, whichever is greater.
Recommended Credit
Excellent/Good

Editorial Disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airlines or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

Disclaimer: The responses below are not provided or commissioned by the bank advertiser. Responses have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by the bank advertiser. It is not the bank advertiser’s responsibility to ensure all posts and/or questions are answered.