Trade appeals to cruise lines to review child vaccination policies

Cruise agents have opted not to promote ex-US sailings to UK families until cruise lines review child vaccination policies.

Disney Cruise Line will require passengers aged five and over to be double-jabbed against Covid-19 from January 13.

MSC Cruises’ ex-Florida voyages require children aged 12 and over to be fully-jabbed. Royal Caribbean asks the same, but has hinted that it could change its policy “soon”.

Norwegian Cruise Line requires all passengers to be fully vaccinated until 2022, but is expected to extend this policy indefinitely.

More: Disney Cruise Line to require over-5s to be fully jabbed

Booster jab proof not expected to be a requirement of UK entry

The NHS currently offers only the first vaccine dose to children 12 and over. The US, however, has approved the Pfizer vaccine for children aged between five and 11.

Cruise365 director Anthony Blackmore has taken the decision to promote only ex-US cruises to adults this winter. He said: “It’s difficult for families from the UK.”

A family due to travel on an ex-US cruise in January has been moved to the end of next year when the travel requirements are likely to be “more accessible”.

“We have to look at every single booking travelling soon and give them a step-by-step plan about what they need to do for their holiday,” Blackmore told Travel Weekly.

Although British families were finding it “awkward” to travel anywhere, he pointed out that onboard Covid-19 protocols were “working really well”.

He said it was vital the cruise sector was not “vilified” this winter as operations began to scale up again.

Alison Earnshaw, managing director of Cruise118 parent World Travel Holdings, said customers were uncertain about booking US sailings at all.

“We’re not actively marketing family pricing but if someone calls up we’ll give them a price,” she added. “We would like some clarity before we get to the turn of year and the cruise lines want that too.”

Earnshaw said she expects “some attrition” over existing bookings, with some likely to be cancelled as a result of the lines’ policies.

“Some families are moving their bookings further out so that they can travel,” she said. “It’s difficult to know when things might change.”

More: Disney Cruise Line to require over-5s to be fully jabbed

Booster jab proof not expected to be a requirement of UK entry

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