Virgin Voyages’ CEO Tom McAlpin has announced that the cruise line will be requiring all passengers and crew members to be vaccinated before they can go onboard.
“Safety and security is our number one priority, and always has been our number one priority. We’ve heard the president talk about the acceleration of vaccines out there, where by May, all adults could be vaccinated. So, we think that that’s an important criterium to create a safe environment on our ships. We’re going to be requiring all of our sailors and all of our crew to have to be vaccinated before they get onboard the ship,” McAlpin said in an interview aired on ABC News’ Good Morning America.
“We think that’s the right thing to do to create that safe environment,” he added.
Asked about other changes implemented onboard, McAlpin named new cleaning protocols and new technology.
“It’s called Atmosphere, it’s an air purification system, not just a filtration system. It uses bipolar ionization to proactively go out and kill all the bacteria and all of the viruses that are in the air. It’s the same type of system that is used in hospitals. And we will use technology onboard our ships in a way to create these contactless interactions with our crew, not only providing a better experience but providing a safer experience,” he said.
McAlpin added that Virgin Voyages has the capability to test all of its passengers before they get onboard, while they are onboard (if they show symptoms), and when they leave the ship.
“That’s probably a staged approach, a phased approach. Hopefully, that will go away with time … So we think the combination of all these factors (along with the required vaccination) creates the safest possible way to travel,” he said.
In the case of identified coronavirus cases, McAlpin said, there are two doctors and three nurses working onboard, as well as access to the necessary equipment to take care of guests.
“We’ve gone to great lengths to prepare for this … It’s kind of like going through a lifeboat drill. You prepare for that. But the likelihood of something happening is very remote. Think about it. We’re only accepting folks onboard that are vaccinated. We’re testing everybody before they get onboard. So, the likelihood of having an outbreak is very remote,” he said.