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Cruise ship will be fully vaccinated..?


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2 hours ago, DJVKN said:

I have contacted tellus@viking.com and will see if I get a response. If I do I'll post it here.

Diana

Here's one thing to ask them - in the videos Mr. Hagen continues to say that Viking "will not sail till it is safe to do so". What exactly does that mean? How does Viking define "safe"?  

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Posted (edited)
2 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

Here's one thing to ask them - in the videos Mr. Hagen continues to say that Viking "will not sail till it is safe to do so". What exactly does that mean? How does Viking define "safe"?  


i suspect “safe” for many cruise lines will be when they are no longer likely to get sued by:

 

- Those that get covid on-board or on company shore-ex.

 

- Families of those who die from covid on-board or die from covid caught on-board or on shore-ex.

 

- Those ashore that get covid from pax.

 

- Those that feel they have been discriminated against by being required to be vaccinated.

 

- Those that are kicked off a ship or denied boarding for violating company protocol.

 

- Those who claim to be traumatized by the fear of catching covid if covid found on-board.

 

-  Nutcases that will find something covid-related to sue about.....


 


 

 

 

 

 

 

Edited by Ragnar Danneskjold
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4 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

Here's one thing to ask them - in the videos Mr. Hagen continues to say that Viking "will not sail till it is safe to do so". What exactly does that mean? How does Viking define "safe"?  

Viking has returned my call this evening so I'll try to recap what he said. In regards to the 3 cruises in England, he said vaccinations would not be required and they will follow the protocols that have been outlined. He said they will encourage guest to be vaccinated but it will not be required for these 1st three cruises. The crew may not all be vaccinated for these 1st 3 cruises either and he did not say if they will require crew to be vaccinate or not for future cruises.

He said this continues to be a moving target based on feedback from guests. I asked about dining and what that may look like, (are we all going to be in 2 tops only? Will we dine with other guest?) He said that is still in the discussion phase including having guest who are vaccinated dine with other vaccinated guest and non vaccinated with non vaccinated.

I asked when we could expect the next round of cancellations or if that is based on the success/failure of the 3 UK cruises. He said to his knowledge the future cruises are not tied to the 3 UK cruises. 

I did ask about what was deemed 'safe' for sailing but was just given a pat answer of the safety and welfare of all our guest is important.

I asked why Viking was so hesitant to commit to having everyone vaccinated and told him I felt that was the responsible thing to do. His response was it is still being discussed and they continue to gather feedback from their guest through these types of discussions to assist them in their decisions.

It was good discussion even though it is not what I wanted to hear.

Diana

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I received a call from Viking this afternoon, responding to my email of last night. Again, as with others, it was an extended  conversation with the rep.  I did ask him specifically why Viking would not commit to requiring all pax and crew to be vaccinated and he said " we are still working to refine and develop our health and safety policies".  I told him that we would not be interested in cruising unless that vaccinations were required, and asked him if any another Viking clients had expressed the same reservations and said that they had been hearing from a number of past guests.  

 

I also asked what the  plan was if some ports on the itinerary required vaccinations to disembark, how they would control which (if any pax) would be allowed to disembark, and he said they were still in discussions.

 

While there was a fair amount of "spin", he admitted that they were still along way from making any announcements, I was pleased that Viking is making the attempt to connect with those who are making their concerns known.

 

Look forward to hearing others feedback.

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2 hours ago, OnTheJourney said:

Here's one thing to ask them - in the videos Mr. Hagen continues to say that Viking "will not sail till it is safe to do so". What exactly does that mean? How does Viking define "safe"?  

 

An excellent question.

 

In the marine industry and no doubt other industries, "Safety" is one of the most subjective topics, so it is virtually impossible to provide a definitive answer. With many safety issues, if you ask multiple people for an opinion, you will most likely receive an equal number of opinions.

 

Your question is an excellent follow up to my posts over the past couple of days, outlining my concerns. I will provide a little history on marine safety, which in many cases is driven by incidents/accidents, and hopefully provide some info on the process on how Viking may define "Safe".

 

When I went to sea in mid 70's, they had basic Fleet regulations, but the Master's had immense latitude in how the ships were operated. Safety was driven by the Master & Senior Officers and could vary significantly across ships of the same company. The Master also was solely accountable for accidents, as no accountability was legally applied to shore staff.

 

The Herald of Free Enterprise sinking in 1987 initiated significant changes, with accountability introduced to shore management. The Canadian Shipping Act (the one I know best) states in many places the Master and designated person ashore, "Shall", so both are now accountable. Therefore, in the event of an accident, I figured the CEO or VP Ops would be in the adjacent cell. This sinking also initiated development of the International Safety Management Code (ISM Code), which is the marine equivalent of ISO 9001. Can't remember the year, but remember working on it in the late 1990's.

 

Initially, it was rather basic. Best explanation is, "Document what you do, and do what you documented". Therefore, provided it complied with the Code and was in the required format, we wrote down how we operated, and submitted it to Flag/Class for approval. Most procedures were fairly generic and may not have been the safest possible, but provided it was documented and we followed the document, we were in compliance.

 

About mid 2000's, led by P&O/Princess/Cunard, a number of cruise lines developed vastly superior procedures, especially navigation & command control. This is when Risk Analysis and Human Factors were introduced into creating procedures. I used the P&O document to develop procedures for my own ship. Then in 2011, when spending most of my time working ashore, I was tasked with a complete rewrite of our Marine Operations, for a fleet of > 30 ships.

 

By integrating risk analysis into the operations, we endeavoured to remove as much subjectivity as reasonably possible. Since I wrote procedures for ships ranging from about 200 pax to 2,000+ pax, it was impossible for me to risk assess every operation on every ship. Therefore, I wrote the expected standards and directed the Senior Masters to conduct the risk analysis for each operation, determining the necessary risk mitigations to reduce risk to "ALARP" - as low as reasonably practical. Therefore, we didn't attempt to eliminate all risks, as if all risks are eliminated they would never sail.

 

So back to your question. Based on our experience, I believe Viking operations are maintained at a high standard, well above ISM Code minimums. Therefore, I expect Viking will use risk assessments and will have risk assessed post-COVID ops, determining the risk mitigations required to reduced the identified risks to "ALARP" Will they require a complete elimination of COVID? - I highly doubt that would be the standard, as I suggest that isn't reasonably practical in the short/medium term. The Health & Safety Plan provides an insight into their thoughts, but I expect they have a number of additional risk mitigations we are not aware of.

 

Doesn't provide a specific answer, but hopefully the explanation of my experiences and summation of the process Viking may use, will be of some assistance. 

 

 

 

 

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@Heidi13  Thank you for your very detailed explanation of how a ships safety procedures are developed.  When Viking introduced their health and safety measures in December of 2020, they were very progressive in having arguably the best program in the cruising industry.  They were using every known procedure and even leading the industry by having testing available on all their ships.   However any safety program needs to evolve over time as new knowledge is gained and new methods become available.  Vaccines were still in development and testing when their program was announced and it was not reasonable to include them at that time.  However, times are rapidly changing and vaccines are becoming more available and their distribution is ramping up.  I'm having a hard time understanding why Viking is hesitating to update their policy to require all passengers and crew to be vaccinated if they truly want their procedures to be industry leading.  As we are all too aware covid is an easily identified risk to any cruise line and in order to reduce that risk to "ALARP" status wouldn't that include vaccination now?  

 

And I really want to thank you again for all the time and effort you have put into providing us with the detailed posts you add to the boards regularly.  

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However, Viking, who called me yesterday about possible booking on their first cruises around England, stated that they were not requiring a vaccination - "to be fair to everyone".  Other round UK providers are insisting on vaccinations.    In addition, despite these cruises only being open to UK residents, they insist that only accompanied shore excursions are allowed.

I could drive to Falmouth or Liverpool and sightsee - but I would not be allowed to walk around alone if I arrive on a Viking ship apparently.

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We are jumping over to Viking from Celebrity and up until the decision not to require vaccination I had been so impressed with the way they have handled things all things considered. Celebrity just announced that they are restarting out of St. Maarten in June and requiring vaccination for all passengers and crew (kids under 18 have to have a negative PCR test). While we are in no rush to get back on board any ship this really is giving us pause when looking at what other lines are requiring. Our final payment is not until November, but like so many others I wont be making it they don't ultimately require proof of vaccination for all passengers and crew.

 

@Heidi13 you posts are great!

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I received a call last evening in response to my letter to TellUs advocating vaccinations for all.  The ( absolutely wonderful) rep confirmed that while they are currently not requiring vaccinations for the upcoming British Isles cruises, their medical team is still reviewing the policy and may well  adopt such a requirement as they return to their usual operations.   They are strongly encouraging crew to get vaccinated,  and are imposing a 14-day quarantine and daily PCR tests on the crew for these upcoming cruises. Masks will be required for everyone on board, except when pax are in their staterooms or are eating in the dining areas.

 

It sounded like they are definitely listening to our feedback.  I wish I'd thought to ask about ventilation in the dining areas - even with half the passengers and tables well-spaced, that can be an area of spreading if ventilation blows someone's virus around the room.  

 

We booked a back-to-back for September 2022 and won't sail unless our current concerns are addressed.  I'm rooting for Viking to do the prudent thing so we can all enjoy sailing on our favorite line!

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, duquephart said:

how true indeed.

 

2 hours ago, soundcruiser said:

I received a call last evening in response to my letter to TellUs advocating vaccinations for all.  The ( absolutely wonderful) rep confirmed that while they are currently not requiring vaccinations for the upcoming British Isles cruises, their medical team is still reviewing the policy and may well  adopt such a requirement as they return to their usual operations.   They are strongly encouraging crew to get vaccinated,  and are imposing a 14-day quarantine and daily PCR tests on the crew for these upcoming cruises. Masks will be required for everyone on board, except when pax are in their staterooms or are eating in the dining areas.

 

It sounded like they are definitely listening to our feedback.  I wish I'd thought to ask about ventilation in the dining areas - even with half the passengers and tables well-spaced, that can be an area of spreading if ventilation blows someone's virus around the room.  

 

We booked a back-to-back for September 2022 and won't sail unless our current concerns are addressed.  I'm rooting for Viking to do the prudent thing so we can all enjoy sailing on our favorite line!

Very well stated, soundcruiser!   We are ex-Seattlites.

We totally agree with you - and had the same phone experience you had.  This does give some hope that perhaps Viking will even if reluctantly, yield to pressure from people's feedback as well as other cruises lines vaccine policies, even if they are so worried that requiring vaccinations "will not be fair to everyone" and they will "lose customers who don't want to be vaccinated".   At some point they cannot straddle the fence - either join the group who doesn't care or join the group that does care.  They will lose something either way but they'll have to make a decision, even if that is a "no decision" (joining the no-cares).

Edited by CCWineLover
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8 hours ago, Mrs Miggins said:

However, Viking, who called me yesterday about possible booking on their first cruises around England, stated that they were not requiring a vaccination - "to be fair to everyone".  

3 hours ago, Jim Avery said:

Impossible job.

 

 

So true Jim - any business that tries to be fair to everyone, is generally providing a dis-service to all. At times like this, the safety people need to stand up to the plate and be counted, shutting down the marketing types.

 

Personally I can't see how subjecting those of us who already have/will get the vaccinations with the higher risk of being in a closed environment with anti-vaxxers, can possibly be considered as being fair.

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I see where Royal Caribbean joined the vax to sail club today.  Quite a few lines stepping up.  To be honest, I don't worry about catching covid.  I would bet we have already had it.  We are vaxed so really don't worry about it.  The thing I do worry about is what will happen when the inevitable happens and someone gets a mild case on a cruise ship.  Will the sky start falling and everything stop or will they treat it like someone coming down with pneumonia and isolating and treating.  Not comparing norovirus with covid as to severity but ships immediately quarantine those who get it and take measures onboard.  Closing pools/spas, restricting buffet lines serving, etc.  And that's just noro. But at least they continue on the cruise, for the most part.  In 48 cruises, including two world cruises, neither DW or I have ever had noro.  At some point you have to trust your own immune system or you would never travel.  Making vax mandatory would, I think, make it that much harder for the virus to pop up on all of everyone's cruises.  That's the hope..

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2 hours ago, soundcruiser said:

...   They are strongly encouraging crew to get vaccinated,  and are imposing a 14-day quarantine and daily PCR tests on the crew for these upcoming cruises...

 

The crew might be 'encouraged' to be vaccinated, but here in the UK you can't buy a vaccination as far as I'm aware.  You wait your turn, and if you're young and healthy, you'll be waiting a little while yet.  Other countries are WAY behind the UK on the vaccination program.  

hey ho... it's an interesting discussion!

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One of the couples that is going with us ( well maybe) on the Viking homeland in Aug... They both have had Covid.  He got the vaccine and she is an anti vaxer. It is going to be interesting.

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5 hours ago, soundcruiser said:

We booked a back-to-back for September 2022 and won't sail unless our current concerns are addressed.  I'm rooting for Viking to do the prudent thing so we can all enjoy sailing on our favorite line!

We also have two cruises booked for 2022, both replacements for cruises canceled during this past year. The thing that makes this so complicated is that, in our cases, we are trying to look ahead to something that won't take place for fifteen months. If you think of it, fifteen months ago, most of us had never heard of a coronavirus! Who knows where we will be by then? Will we all be getting booster shots for the vaccine? Will variants of the disease be disrupting our lives all over again?

 

At this point, I think that I would be reluctant to cruise unless all passengers and crew are vaccinated but a lot can change between now and then. Perhaps by then there will be a reliable treatment for Covid-19, which would be extremely helpful.  I am glad we don't have any final payments due until October. I certainly hope by then I will be most happy to pay up for a chance to sail with Viking again.

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Posted (edited)

Australia is very protective of its current status with regards to Covid ( no community transmission and no one in hospital) but is only just rolling out vaccinations. Just 150,000 done so far but that will ramp up very soon. My prediction - If Viking does not make vaccination compulsory for crew and passengers then Viking will not be allowed to come to Australia come next summer (October).  Australia has a long memory when it comes to the spread and death rate from Ruby Princess just 12 months ago. And New Zealand and many Asian countries (Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam) will be the same.  Currently we still can't even leave Australia. 

Edited by Pushka
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It has been very interesting to me how many people that I know that will NOT get the vaccine.  Some are political reasons ( the vaccine was pushed through to fast)... some are for safety issues.. and even some for religious reasons.  Like I said when I was in Maui I got brow beat several times about having the vaccine.  If it was up to me I would say you will have the vaccine or stay home.  Not sure that some businesses will feel that way.  They have been locked down over a year now.  And like I said if Viking cancels the cruises we have I will do some thing else.  Maui is not a bad thing to do in the winter.  Not mad at Viking but life is short.  That maybe the problem that Viking is facing.  Get started or lose business.

 

 

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10 minutes ago, Porcupine 52 said:

It has been very interesting to me how many people that I know that will NOT get the vaccine.

I live in a retirement community, so my experience is completely the opposite.  The only ones who aren't getting the vaccine are those who can't for medical reasons - severe allergic reactions, for example.

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1 hour ago, Pushka said:

Australia is very protective of its current status with regards to Covid ( no community transmission and no one in hospital) but is only just rolling out vaccinations. Just 150,000 done so far but that will ramp up very soon. My prediction - If Viking does not make vaccination compulsory for crew and passengers then Viking will not be allowed to come to Australia come next summer (October).  Australia has a long memory when it comes to the spread and death rate from Ruby Princess just 12 months ago. And New Zealand and many Asian countries (Thailand, Singapore, Hong Kong, Vietnam) will be the same.  Currently we still can't even leave Australia. 

 

Totally agree that both Australia & New Zealand took swift action and you are now reaping the rewards. Even on our news, a few nights ago, they ran a story on a live concert in New Zealand.

 

Australia and New Zealand are only 2 of the many countries I expect will mandate vaccinations. When that happens, when requesting "Free Pratique" the ship must show acceptable proof that every person on board meets their vaccination requirements. If the entire ship isn't vaccinated, or they can't provide acceptable proof, the ship is not cleared.

 

The low vaccination rates are no doubt partly due to Italy recently banning the export of vaccine to Australia, which I thought was deplorable..

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