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Windstar Cruises will require proof of a current COVID-19 vaccination for all guests, until further notice. The small-ship operator is planning for a phased restart to cruising starting in June.The company said many of its destinations and some airlines have announced or are considering vaccine mandates.“Looking at the science behind the virus, we see consistent recommendations for wearing masks, social distancing, testing, and enhanced cleaning,” said Andrew Todd, CEO of Windstar and its parent company, Xanterra Travel Collection. “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.”
Windstar Cruises President Chris Prelog gets a COVID-19 vaccine. (photo via Windstar Cruises)
Windstar said current government and news reports indicate that those who wish to sail 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.The vaccine requirement is subject to change as CDC guidelines change, the company said, adding that it will periodically review this and all other COVID-19 policies for updates as the pandemic evolves.
The company plans to restart on June 19 with the Star Breeze in the Caribbean and Wind Star in the Mediterranean.The Wind Spirit is scheduled to re-enter service July 15 in Tahiti, followed by Wind Surf Aug. 8 in the Mediterranean.The Star Legend is slated to resume cruising Sept. 4 in Northern Europe and the Star Pride Nov. 3 in the Caribbean.Windstar’s initial cruises will operate at a reduced guest occupancy, with some modified itineraries and with enhanced health and safety protocols. Windstar also moved the final payment date from 120 days to 60 days prior to cruise departure.At the cruise terminal before embarkation, guests 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 the embarkation date. Negative COVID-19 test results will also be required prior to embarkation.“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 Windstar President Christopher Prelog.
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