Celebrity Cruises reconsiders vax mandate for kids

Celebrity Cruises said Monday it has put on hold its plan to require that children ages 5 to 11 are fully vaccinated in order to sail, which was to be effective on cruises departing Feb. 1 and afterward. 

Celebrity had announced the policy on Nov. 30, becoming the second cruise company after Disney Cruise Line to lower its vaccine mandate to passengers ages 5 and older following the CDC’s Nov. 2 approval of the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccines for children 5 to 11 years old.

“Our recent announcement regarding a change in the minimum vaccination age required to cruise has been placed on hold until further notice,” the line said in a statement. “Celebrity Cruises will continue to put in place health and safety protocols that take into consideration the latest CDC guidance.”

Celebrity’s sister brand, Royal Caribbean International, said it was in a “wait-and-see” mode on the issue.

During her weekly Coffee Talk webinar with travel advisors on Dec. 1, Royal Caribbean senior vice president of sales, trade support and service Vicki Freed said, “At this time, we have not made any decisions on the vaccine requirements for children 5 to 11. We are still in a wait-and-see. We are evaluating it. … But should we make a change to our protocols and require this, we will give you plenty of notice so that families can get their children vaccinated.”

Celebrity, like Carnival Cruise Line, was already letting very few unvaccinated children sail on its ships in order to maintain a 95% vaccination rate on its vessels.

Brands including Norwegian Cruise Line and Princess Cruises already effectively require that children ages 5 to 11 be vaccinated, because they require vaccinations of all passengers, with no exceptions for children under 5. 

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