A Victory Cruise Lines’ ship on the Georgian Bay Victory Cruise Lines

Hornblower Group cruise lines will require COVID-19 vaccination.

Both guests and workers must be vaccinated, and the protocol applies to all sailings starting July 1.

The cruise lines still have trips lined up for April through June.

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The American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines – both part of the Hornblower Group – have announced they will require their guests and crew members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine for sailings starting July 1.

Crew members and guests will both need to provide proof of the vaccination in order to sail. Potential cruisers who can’t or don’t want to receive the vaccine will need to contact the cruise lines’ reservations department.

“Vaccination requirements for both our guests and crew is the most prudent next step to ensure that we are providing the safest cruising experience possible,” John Waggoner, CEO and founder of American Queen Steamboat Company, said in a statement.

The American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines’ July 1 vaccination deadline may seem soon, but the two companies aren’t worried about this upcoming date.

According to the cruise lines, the majority of American Queen Steamboat and Victory cruisers are over the age of 65, therefore making them eligible to receive the COVID-19 vaccine before the majority of the US. However, if someone isn’t able to get their jabs before their trip, the companies will rebook the guest for a later date.

In terms of mandatory vaccinations for crew members by the same deadline, the two companies are confident its workers will also be able to receive both shots by July 1 since essential “water transportation” workers fall under the Phase 1c vaccine rollout.

“We have no reason to believe that they will not have access to both doses of the vaccine by that time,” the two companies said in a statement in a news release.

Sailings before July and other health protocols

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American Queen Steamboat Company’s American Express riverboat. American Queen Steamboat Company

The cruise lines are still set to resume sailing starting April, which is prior to the July 1 vaccination deadline.

The cruise lines have already seen “strong interest” for trips from April through June, according to the two companies. To be safe, these pre-mandatory vaccine sailings will still have several safety measures. But by April, many of the guests will already have had access to the COVID-19 vaccine, according to the American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines.

Looking ahead, the two cruise lines will still have a list of health measures in place even after the vaccination requirement is implemented. Besides mandating vaccine jabs, the cruise lines will also have health screenings and COVID-19 tests for guests and crew members prior to sailing and will implement a mask mandate where social distancing isn’t possible, to name a few protocols.

Like airlines that have been flying during the coronavirus pandemic, the two cruise lines will also be operating at reduced capacity. And instead of self-serve buffets, the ships will be expanding “grab and go” offerings, and crew members will be serving the guests food.

The American Queen Steamboat Company and Victory Cruise Lines aren’t the first cruising companies to announce a vaccine mandate. Norwegian Cruise Line and its Regent Seven Seas Cruises brand will require all crew members to receive the COVID-19 vaccine, the cruise companies’ spokespeople told Insider in an email statement. Similarly, UK cruise company Saga – which targets guests over 50-years-old – will be enforcing a mandatory covid vaccination protocol for all its guests.

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