It’s been a hot topic of debate among cruisers of a certain age, especially since they are one of the largest groups that take to the sea.
Over the last month, a number of lines have released new health and safety protocols, which require passengers over 70 to produce letters from their doctors confirming they are fit to travel.
And this did not sit well with a number of Cruise Passenger readers.
Companies like Dream Cruises and Princess Cruises revealed their new health and safety protocols over the last few weeks – a response to the coronavirus crisis.
But Cruise Lines International Association has updated their status and lifted the restrictions. In response, Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises has now said they will not require forms for passengers over 70 after the company rescinded .
“Additional measures for passengers over 70 had been developed and were adopted by some cruise lines, but were immediately superseded by the suspension of cruise operations in March. As there are no further embarkations during the suspension period, these requirements have been removed,” said CLIA in a statement.
“CLIA is now working with its members to review all Public Health Policy measures for CLIA ocean-going cruise lines, including the consideration of potential new protocols. Prior to resumption of passenger operations, CLIA will issue a revised set of protocols reflective of what the medical community has learned about COVID-19.”
Royal Caribbean’s Senior Vice President of Sales and Trade Support & Service Vicki Freed, spoke to travel agents during a webinar, and gave assurances that passengers over 70, or those who have pre-existing chronic medical condition will not have to produce such documentation..
“We found out that CLIA (Cruise Lines International Association) did actually change this requirement on April 3rd. So a health form is no longer required for those travellers ages 70 plus, nor are there restrictions for those guests with underlying health conditions,” she said.
“In our current environment, everything can change at a moment’s notice, so this is very fluid. But as of today, there are no requirements for doctor’s notes.”
“We are working on our return to service protocols, and they may look very different in the next couple weeks or months. Until that’s finalised, we can’t say for sure this is never going to happen, but we will keep you informed.”
Celebrity Cruises, who also had a “Fit To Travel” form for guests for 70 years of age and older with critical conditions, said they too have lifted the restriction.
“Earlier this year, Celebrity Cruises announced travel restrictions for guests with chronic illness as well as a mandatory “Fit To Travel” form for guests 70 years of age and older with critical health conditions. Celebrity is now pleased to advise that, while subject to change, CLIA has confirmed these restrictions were lifted in early April after all cruise lines were required to suspend service,” said the statement.
But passengers are still worried, as not all brands and companies followed suit to CLIA’s change of policy. One reader, who has booked with Princess Cruises, is worried about her upcoming voyage.
“How are they (Princess Cruises) going to sort out who cruises and who doesn’t cruise on embarking. I have a booking for next year in May on Sapphire Princess but I need to know what I need to do now to ensure I am able to cruise when the time comes,” the reader commented in a Cruise Passenger post.