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

March 16, 2021
4 min read
Another major cruise line says you'll need a COVID-19 vaccine to sail
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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.

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"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.

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Featured image by The new Virgin Voyages ship Scarlet Lady. (Photo courtesy of Virgin Voyages)
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
3XEarn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
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    For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening

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The Citi Premier’s 3 points per dollar spent across a wide range of popular categories is one of the more lucrative offerings in the world of points and miles. The Citi Premier comes with a $95 annual fee and is currently offering a solid sign up bonus of 80,000 points after you spend $4,000 on purchases within the first three months. It also has some valuable transfer partners to make the most of your rewards. Add in access to Citi Entertainment plus a $100 hotel credit for any single-stay hotel booking that exceeds $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through the Citi travel website, there are few reasons why the Citi Premier should not be in every traveler’s wallet.

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  • $100 annual hotel savings benefit (on single hotel stay bookings of $500 or more, excluding taxes and fees, booked through thankyou.com)
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  • Lacks travel protections that other travel rewards cards come with
  • For a limited time, earn 80,000 bonus ThankYou® Points after you spend $4,000 in purchases within the first 3 months of account opening
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Restaurants and Supermarkets
  • Earn 3 Points per $1 spent at Gas Stations, Air Travel and Hotels
  • Earn 1 Point per $1 spent on all other purchases
  • Annual Hotel Savings Benefit
  • 80,000 Points are redeemable for $800 in gift cards when redeemed at thankyou.com
  • No expiration and no limit to the amount of points you can earn with this card
  • No Foreign Transaction Fees on purchases