Windstar Cruises, a cruise line with a fleet of six cruise ships, is the latest cruise line to announce that all passengers will be required to have a current Covid-19 vaccination in order to sail on one of their ships.
The cruise line arrived at the decision in the best health and wellness interests of its guests, crew, and the places the yachts visit. Many Windstar destinations and some airlines have announced or are considering vaccine mandates, providing further support for the new Windstar policy. Windstar is a leader in small-ship cruising with six, boutique all-suite and sailing yachts (carrying fewer than 350 guests each) that access the smaller ports, waterways, and destinations the large cruise ships cannot.
Windstar Cruises will restart operations in June 2021 in a phased manner, with initial cruises at a reduced guest occupancy, some modified itineraries, and with enhanced health and safety protocols. To provide guests with greater flexibility, the cruise line has moved the final payment date from 120 days to 60 days prior to cruise departure. The timeline for resumption of operations is:
Star Breeze – June 19, 2021 – Caribbean
Wind Star – June 19, 2021 – Mediterranean
Wind Spirit – July 15, 2021 – Tahiti
Wind Surf – August 8, 2021 – Mediterranean
Star Legend – Sept 4, 2021 – Northern Europe
Star Pride – November 3, 2021 – Caribbean
At the cruise terminal prior to embarkation, passengers will be required to provide proof of a completed current vaccine course (one or two shots, depending on the brand) finished at least 14 days prior to embarkation. In addition, negative COVID-19 test results will also be required prior to embarkation.
“Looking at the science behind the virus, we see consistent recommendations for wearing masks, social distancing, testing, and enhanced cleaning. In response, Windstar developed a new Beyond Ordinary Care program, which is a multi-layered strategy with key hospital-grade elements: HEPA filters and UV-C germicidal irradiation to filter and disinfect the air, plus backpack sprayers to sanitize all surfaces throughout our yachts,” said Andrew Todd, CEO, Windstar and parent company Xanterra Travel Collection.
“Vaccination is another layer of safety for all of us, and it’s the responsible course of action as our yachts resume cruising and our guests travel the world,” said Christopher Prelog, President of Windstar Cruises.
Current government and news reports about increased vaccine availability in the United States and abroad give Windstar confidence that guests who wish to sail with the line will have time to be vaccinated before travel.
Crew members will be required to be vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to them. This Windstar standard is subject to change as CDC guidelines change. Windstar will periodically review this and all other COVID-19 policies for updates as the pandemic evolves.