| 5.3°C Dublin

Over-50s cruise line says it will only accept vaccinated travellers this year

Saga has become the first cruise line to insist that all guests are vaccinated, with sailings due to commence in May


Saga's 'Spirit of Adventure' joined its fleet in Autumn 2020

Saga's 'Spirit of Adventure' joined its fleet in Autumn 2020

Saga's 'Spirit of Adventure' joined its fleet in Autumn 2020

Saga Cruises says it will require all guests to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 before sailing on its ships this year.

The new rule was announced this week, and applies to guests booked to cruise its Spirit of Discovery ship from April 2021, and its Spirit of Adventure from May to December of this year.

"This means that guests must have received their full two doses of the Covid‑19 vaccination at least 14 days before travelling with us", the line said in a statement.

Saga is a UK tour operator whose cruising arm offers "boutique" voyages to the over-50s on two ships, each with a capacity of 999 passengers.

"The majority of our guests fall into the at-risk age bracket and our priority is their safety and wellbeing," it says.

Guests "will be required to bring their vaccination document and/or evidence as proof at the time of boarding", it adds.

It comes as UK holiday companies have reported a surge in bookings, particularly among older people, as the coronavirus vaccine rollout gives hope that holidaymakers will soon be able to travel overseas again.

Other safety measures on Saga's cruise ships include mandatory Covid-19 testing before boarding, reduced capacity (to 800 guests maximum), "subtle" social distancing measures, cleaning and air-con enhancements, full table service dining, a doubling of on-board medical staff and a face-covering requirement in all internal public areas for guests and staff.

It also includes coronavirus cancellation cover for all guests.

Travel insider Newsletter

Considering where to go as the world opens up? Indulge your inner traveller with our free newsletter every Wednesday.

This field is required

Other cruise lines have introduced similar health measures, but Saga is the first so far to insist on full vaccination for its customers.

In order to give guests time to adapt, the company will delay the restart of its cruises programme from April 3 to May 4, and says anyone unable to transfer their booking will be fully refunded.

The news comes as the Seychelles announced it has reopened to vaccinated travellers, who must also show negative Covid-19 test results.

Earlier this month, Royal Caribbean International announced that it would suspend sailings for its Celebrity Cruises, Royal Caribbean brand and Azamara through April 30.

Most Watched