The list is growing. Until further notice, Windstar Cruises will require proof of a COVID-19 vaccination for all guests.
Windstar's six, boutique-style yachts carry fewer than 350 guests; these small ships access smaller ports, waterways, and destinations. In a press statement, the line said it arrived at the decision in the best health and wellness interests of its guests, crew, and the places the yachts visit.
In addition, the statement noted: "Many Windstar destinations and some airlines have announced or are considering vaccine mandates, providing further support for the new Windstar policy."
Health and Safety Afloat
At the cruise terminal prior to 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 guest’s embarkation date. Negative COVID-19 test results will also be required prior to embarkation.
Crew members will be required to be vaccinated as soon as the vaccine is available to them. The line said this Windstar standard will be periodically reviewed and is subject to change as CDC guidelines change.
“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. For example, Windstar's "Beyond Ordinary Care" program utilizes HEPA filters and UV-C germicidal irradiation to filter and disinfect the air, plus backpack sprayers to sanitize all surfaces on the line's yachts.
Building on that program, "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.
The line added that 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.
Windstar 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, Windstar 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)
For information on Windstar Cruises, visit www.windstarcruises.com.