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Seabourn not currently requiring vaccination for future cruises


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There's been discussion on this forum about Seabourn's plans regarding a vaccination requirement, or lack thereof. As a Seabourn customer booked on an upcoming Barbados cruise, for which vaccines are required, I sent an email to Seabourn customer relations expressing my desire to have them continue a vaccination requirement after the current Greece/Caribbean season, and stating that we would not book a future Seabourn cruise if they don't and other luxury cruise lines do. I'm sharing below the response I received from Seabourn about the current state of their policies, and their current lack of commitment to a vaccine requirement going forward.

 

(Note, I am cognizant of the new Cruise Critic policy regarding Covid discussions. I believe this post is allowed because it is specifically about actual policy on Seabourn ships. I'd encourage anyone who replies in this thread to stick specifically to Seabourn policies and how it affects your willingness to travel, and not to veer off into any wider discussion about the effectiveness of testing or vaccines or other topics which would violate the CC policy and get your post, or this thread, removed.)

 

Here is the reply I received from Seabourn's Office of the President in response to my message encouraging them to require passengers to be vaccinated:

 

We truly appreciate you for taking the time to share your thoughts and feedback for us. Further, we acknowledge the preventative guidelines other lines have implemented and we appreciate your recommendation in adopting a similar policy. While a vaccine requirement is not in place at the moment, we continue to develop our approach for our onboard staff and/or our guests, including potential vaccine requirements in order to embark a Seabourn vessel. We understand that some cruise lines may implement these requirements for guests and crew to be vaccinated. The development of COVID-19 vaccines has been remarkable and we know many of our guests have already received theirs; a choice we support.

 

Our future requirements and procedures must be envisioned in a holistic process in which a vaccine requirement would be but one of many items that will allow us to safely return to service and visiting the places that we love. We would like to also note that our senior leadership is continuing to consult with a panel of eminent virologists, epidemiologists, engineers and public health experts, and tasked them with assessing our physical facilities and procedures and suggesting any enhancements or changes to further reduce the risk of contagion. Nonetheless, comments are important to us, and we are consistently evaluating the ongoing worldwide situation and adapting our future plans with thoughts around compliance, environmental protection, the health, safety and well-being of our guests as well as the crew and the extraordinary destinations we visit.

 

Again, thank you for contacting our office and bringing your issues to our attention.

 

While Seabourn is requiring passengers on the initial Greece and Caribbean cruises this summer/fall to be vaccinated, anyone booking cruises beyond those should be aware that Seabourn is not, at least at this time, requiring proof of vaccination for future cruises. Some people who are not vaccinated, or families with young children who cannot yet be vaccinated, might appreciate this, while I suspect a large majority of Seabourn customers might not. 

 

 

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1 hour ago, cruiseej said:

Some people who are not vaccinated, or families with young children who cannot yet be vaccinated, might appreciate this, while I suspect a large majority of Seabourn customers might not.

 

I am perplexed and dismayed by Seabourn's lack of commitment to vaccination requirement for all guests and crew, especially since young children contribute to a negligible source of revenue for the brand.  All these anemic, rationalizing corporate mumble jumble and platitudes only worsen the aggravation and disbelief.

 

After my upcoming Seabourn voyage in the fall, I have not made any new bookings with them.  And I highly doubt I will, should they not commit to the highest standards when it comes to protecting their guests and crew, in contrast with their competitors.  Very disappointed.

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I think that a lot of future policy decisions will be driven by the requirements imposed by the various ports of any itinerary.  There are also some complications because of the newly enacted laws of some common embarkation/disembarkation States.   As is our usual practice we will continue to book cruises (with multiple cruise lines) based on timing, itinerary, price, etc.  As to  COVID related policies we see that as an evolving situation (with all cruise lines) and will revaluate as we near the penalty period with each booking be it SB or other lines.

 

Hank

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39 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

  As is our usual practice we will continue to book cruises (with multiple cruise lines) based on timing, itinerary, price, etc.  

 

Hank

 

 

I would add SAFETY to this decision making process and in 2021 it would be #1.    These cruises are major financial commitments and personally I won't make that commitment until the long term safety protocols are much clearer and better defined.   In my opinion (into the foreseeable future) allowing un vaccinated crew & guests greatly increases our chances of a disastrous outcome to the point that its impossible to commit.  I'm certainly not going to play the book and cancel game because Seabourn hasn't decided what their long term Covid policies are.

 

 

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1 hour ago, RetiredandTravel said:

 

 

I would add SAFETY to this decision making process and in 2021 it would be #1.    These cruises are major financial commitments and personally I won't make that commitment until the long term safety protocols are much clearer and better defined.   In my opinion (into the foreseeable future) allowing un vaccinated crew & guests greatly increases our chances of a disastrous outcome to the point that its impossible to commit.  I'm certainly not going to play the book and cancel game because Seabourn hasn't decided what their long term Covid policies are.

 

 

Mr. SLSD and I totally agree with you.  We are ready to travel again, but hesitant to book a cruise (or two or three as we would like to do) until we know and understand the situation of cruising during a time of pandemic.  I am very disappointed that Seabourn will not stand firm in its requirement for vaccinations for all guests and crew.  If this continues, we will be looking at other cruise lines--probably Silversea.  

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2 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I think that a lot of future policy decisions will be driven by the requirements imposed by the various ports of any itinerary. 

 

I believe there is only one place in the world -- Florida -- in which a cruise line is barred from requiring passengers to be vaccinated. Perhaps I'm wrong; are there others?

 

So a policy decision to require passengers to be vaccinated, a proactive factor in reducing the risk of Covid onboard which many Seabourn passenger favor, is not "driven by requirements imposed by various ports" (other than Florida). Such a policy decision, it appears, is being driven by executives and bean counters trying to figure out whether a vaccination requirement would increase or decrease their bookings and/or whether it would be a roadblock for a small number of their biggest-spending customers.

 

All the talk about evaluating a "holistic process" and their panel of experts seems to be mumbo-jumbo with regard to this specific issue. I can't imagine any of their experts saying a vaccine requirement would be detrimental to safety. Perhaps some might say it doesn't significantly improve safety, although that would seem counterintuitive, but it wouldn't make anything worse.

 

The key here is that while safety of passengers and crew is Number One, the perception of passengers follows closely behind. If a vast majority of potential cruisers say they would feel safer and more willing to travel if vaccines were required, they could choose to require vaccines irrespective of whether their health experts say it is likely to produce safer travel or not. By choosing not to set such a policy, they are telling their potential customers that they are still trying to feel out which way the winds of public opinion are blowing and how to maximize their revenues. Nothing about actual safety would preclude them from stating that vaccination is required on all cruises for the next 6 or 9 or 12 months, and that's why I'm disappointed by the way Seabourn is addressing this issue.

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1 hour ago, cruiseej said:

 

I believe there is only one place in the world -- Florida -- in which a cruise line is barred from requiring passengers to be vaccinated. Perhaps I'm wrong; are there others?

 

So a policy decision to require passengers to be vaccinated, a proactive factor in reducing the risk of Covid onboard which many Seabourn passenger favor, is not "driven by requirements imposed by various ports" (other than Florida). Such a policy decision, it appears, is being driven by executives and bean counters trying to figure out whether a vaccination requirement would increase or decrease their bookings and/or whether it would be a roadblock for a small number of their biggest-spending customers.

 

All the talk about evaluating a "holistic process" and their panel of experts seems to be mumbo-jumbo with regard to this specific issue. I can't imagine any of their experts saying a vaccine requirement would be detrimental to safety. Perhaps some might say it doesn't significantly improve safety, although that would seem counterintuitive, but it wouldn't make anything worse.

 

The key here is that while safety of passengers and crew is Number One, the perception of passengers follows closely behind. If a vast majority of potential cruisers say they would feel safer and more willing to travel if vaccines were required, they could choose to require vaccines irrespective of whether their health experts say it is likely to produce safer travel or not. By choosing not to set such a policy, they are telling their potential customers that they are still trying to feel out which way the winds of public opinion are blowing and how to maximize their revenues. Nothing about actual safety would preclude them from stating that vaccination is required on all cruises for the next 6 or 9 or 12 months, and that's why I'm disappointed by the way Seabourn is addressing this issue.

I will add that DW and I consider ourselves to be "equal opportunity cruisers" having cruised on 16 cruise lines over more then 40 years.   We all have the ability to exercise  free choice when we choose a cruise line, itinerary, trip, etc.  If one is unhappy with a cruise line they should certainly consider taking their business elsewhere (we have done so in the past).  "Voting with your dollars" is sometimes an effective tool at spurring policy changes.   It would take all my fingers and toes to count the number of cruisers we have met (while on ships) that constantly complain about the very cruise line upon which they cruise and in the next sentence tell us they are "loyal" to only that cruise line :).  When I suggest they look elsewhere they are generally shocked at the thought.  Go figure.

 

Hank

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Thank you for posting this cruiseej. I have been an optimist and have three cruises currently booked with Seabourn. January 2022 because of our Australian border policies I was thinking to roll over the deposit to the Grand Pacific cruise in late September 2022. We also have the Circumnavigation cruise of South America in 2023 booked. I will be contacting Seabourn to let them know we are unlikely to proceed with these bookings if they are not for fully vaccinated passengers.

 

Having had respiratory issues including pneumonia in the past I am not willing to gamble that I, even though vaccinated, may be the unlucky one to still develop a severe Covid due to a long voyage with unvaccinated passengers onboard.

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I think it is important to note that Seabourn has not said they won't require vaccines for future cruises - they just haven't yet established a policy. My wife and I are booked on the December Quest Antarctic cruise. She is adamant that if they don't require vaccines, we should cancel while the cancellation period is in effect. I assume Seabourn monitors these Boards.

 

Incidentally, Florida's ban on cruise ships sailing internationally from requiring vaccines is likely unlawful.

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15 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I will add that DW and I consider ourselves to be "equal opportunity cruisers" having cruised on 16 cruise lines over more then 40 years.   We all have the ability to exercise  free choice when we choose a cruise line, itinerary, trip, etc.  If one is unhappy with a cruise line they should certainly consider taking their business elsewhere (we have done so in the past).  "Voting with your dollars" is sometimes an effective tool at spurring policy changes.   It would take all my fingers and toes to count the number of cruisers we have met (while on ships) that constantly complain about the very cruise line upon which they cruise and in the next sentence tell us they are "loyal" to only that cruise line :).  When I suggest they look elsewhere they are generally shocked at the thought.  Go figure.

 

Hank

I agree there are many cruise lines to choose from. But I, and many others, have FCCs with Seabourn, and therefore I don't have a choice. So, I hope that by next spring when I am booked, there will either be a change in the global outlook of Covid, or Seabourn will clarify its vaccination requirement policy.

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34 minutes ago, hoya68 said:

I think it is important to note that Seabourn has not said they won't require vaccines for future cruises - they just haven't yet established a policy. My wife and I are booked on the December Quest Antarctic cruise. She is adamant that if they don't require vaccines, we should cancel while the cancellation period is in effect. I assume Seabourn monitors these Boards.

 

Incidentally, Florida's ban on cruise ships sailing internationally from requiring vaccines is likely unlawful.

I just posted a new topic (under "Ask a Cruise Question") about RCI's recently announced policies that will apply to the unvaccinated cruising out of Florida ports.  Rather then going the legal route, RCI has imposed very onerous rules and restrictions that will only apply to the unvaccinated.  In order to comply the unvaccinated will need to spend substantial extra dollars and also accept lots of restrictions onboard and in some ports.  

 

Whether Florida's new Law will stand the test of time remains to be seen, but RCI has certainly shown that there is more then one way to deal with such legislation.  A family of 4 cruising on one of those RCI cruises would likely incur between $1600 - $2000 in extra expenses if they choose to avoid presenting proof of vaccination.

 

Hank

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1 hour ago, hoya68 said:

I think it is important to note that Seabourn has not said they won't require vaccines for future cruises - they just haven't yet established a policy.

 

Absolutely. What I was saying is that I'm concerned by their lack of a vaccination policy. And that for those who care about this, this is the time to make your opinions known to Seabourn management. I find it frustrating that they are heavily pounding the marketing efforts to sell future cruises, while not giving potential customers any idea what the fundamental rules will be on their ships. And of course, as the virus  and the state of the world continue to change, changes will be inevitable -- but in my opinion, they should put forth a policy now, not induce people to book and then have to decide late in the game whether or not to cancel.

 

1 hour ago, hoya68 said:

I assume Seabourn monitors these Boards.

 

I'd like to think so, but I haven't ever seen any evidence that they do. I think this is a pretty low-volume channel for Seabourn in the world of social media, so I'm not sure they monitor it.

 

1 hour ago, Mahogany said:

I hope that by next spring when I am booked, there will either be a change in the global outlook of Covid, or Seabourn will clarify its vaccination requirement policy.

 

I'm sure they will have a policy before then. It's possible they will adopt something like the Royal Caribbean policy for Florida which Hank mentions above -- no vaccine required, but onerous and expensive policies for anyone who is not, in an effort to keep a fairly low number of unvaccinated people onboard. It's possible they may require vaccines except for children under the age limit for vaccinations (which will hopefully be lowered in the car future). Or they might continue the no vaccine/no travel policy they implemented for the first cruises in Greece and the Caribbean this summer. I'm hoping for the latter, but increasingly think they will choose something less restrictive. 

 

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2 hours ago, hoya68 said:

I think it is important to note that Seabourn has not said they won't require vaccines for future cruises - they just haven't yet established a policy. My wife and I are booked on the December Quest Antarctic cruise. She is adamant that if they don't require vaccines, we should cancel while the cancellation period is in effect. 


Same for us.  We are booked on Odyssey for 21 nights at the holidays but if Seabourn doesn’t announce a 100% vaccination requirement by mid-August (or if they announce anything less), we WILL cancel before the penalty period kicks in.  I’m already looking at alternative plans for that period as I don’t feel like rolling the dice on my first “real” vacation in almost 3 years!
 

 

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Posted (edited)

Well,lack of a vaccine policy is extremely unhelpful for those of us who are required to pay a non refundable deposit but who only want to cruise on a ship where everyone is fully vaccinated.

I'm reluctantly accepting that it will be quite some time before I cruise SB again.  Of course there are alternatives.

Edited by Isklaar
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The science is so clear.  The vaccinations work and we are safer around vaccinated people.  This is so frustrating as we were ready to book future cruises  (two or three at once)  on Seabourn--and now we are not.  Uncertainty will not be Seabourn's friend.  

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There are so many equal, better, or just slightly lesser than SB alternatives.   More than there were before the halt.  Don't confuse loyalty (programs) with being practical.

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1 hour ago, saminina said:

There are so many equal, better, or just slightly lesser than SB alternatives.   More than there were before the halt.  Don't confuse loyalty (programs) with being practical.

A loyalty program would never keep me from booking another cruise line.  We had been very happy with Seabourn though--I hate to see them not be a possibility because of a vaccine policy.  I would love to know your top picks other than SB.   We have sailed Silversea--it was years ago--but we will be looking at them.  I liked Seabourn quite a bit better, but there have been a lot of changes, so who knows now.  

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Posted (edited)
24 minutes ago, SLSD said:

A loyalty program would never keep me from booking another cruise line.  We had been very happy with Seabourn though--I hate to see them not be a possibility because of a vaccine policy.  I would love to know your top picks other than SB.   We have sailed Silversea--it was years ago--but we will be looking at them.  I liked Seabourn quite a bit better, but there have been a lot of changes, so who knows now.  


We are looking seriously at Silversea after saying "never again" ten years ago. I have an issue with 'large' ships though and I find the smaller, older SS ships unappealing. 

Edited by Isklaar
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5 hours ago, jenidallas said:


Same for us.  We are booked on Odyssey for 21 nights at the holidays but if Seabourn doesn’t announce a 100% vaccination requirement by mid-August (or if they announce anything less), we WILL cancel before the penalty period kicks in.  I’m already looking at alternative plans for that period as I don’t feel like rolling the dice on my first “real” vacation in almost 3 years!
 

 

I believe that cruise embarks from Barbados where they currently have a very tough COVID policy requiring RT-PCR testing (3 days prior to the trip).  In addition, if unvaccinated a cruiser would need to quarantine for at least 5 days in Barbados (and receive at least two more COVID tests) before they would even be able to drive to the port.   The current requirements for vaccinated folks are somewhat less restrictive although it still requires the pre flight negative RT-PCR test plus another test upon arrival in Barbados.  However, they do have a policy that would allow a vaccinated (and tested person) to proceed directly to their ship if they arrive the day of the cruise.  Whether Barbados will ease these policies prior to your cruise is an unknown.  Just keep in mind that getting a standard RT-PCR test with the results delivered prior to one's flight is not always easy and can cost over $200 per test (depending on where it is performed).

 

Hank

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Isklaar said:


We are looking seriously at Silversea after saying "never again" ten years ago. I have an issue with 'large' ships though and I find the smaller, older SS ships unappealing. 

We sailed so many years ago on Silversea, that it WAS one of the older ships, but it was fairly new back then.  I just didn't think SS had the fun ambience that Seabourn has.  I think the lively Cruise Directors on SB are a real plus.  I do remember liking the food ok on SS, but way back then (the summer of Hurricane Katrina--whatever year that was) they  had a spa entree on the menu in the Main Dining Room every night and that worked really well for me.  I worry about it being a bit stuffier than SB and I don't particularly like stuffy---which is NOT the same thing as snobby.  At the same time, I don't really know the Silversea policy for vaccinations.  I guess I need to find out.  

Edited by SLSD
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33 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

I believe that cruise embarks from Barbados where they currently have a very tough COVID policy requiring RT-PCR testing (3 days prior to the trip). 

But pre-departure testing is only part of that.  We now have to deal with not knowing who is/is not vaccinated onboard and whether we should be exercising elevated precautions around certain passengers.  While I recognize that some passengers perhaps have health reasons for which they cannot be vaccinated, my understanding of those clinical conditions is that they would likely put the passenger in a higher risk category for travel which might not be conducive to cruising in developing economies.  I therefore have to assume that anyone who is unvaccinated is thus willingly unvaccinated and so I question my safety around those passengers for other reasons just beyond vaccination status.  

Bottom line... I am willing to be unmasked in noncrowded situations around a group of totally vaccinated individuals.  But I'm now having to make a lot of assumptions about my safety including understanding what those passengers may have been exposed to in ports.

If we don't go, it will free up cabin space for Seabourn to sell passage to individuals who have different personal health standards.

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Anti-trust issues aside, it's baffling that an industry 18+ months shuttered due to its high susceptibility for infectious disease spread hasn't adopted a very strict, industry-wide standard for Covid safety. With every line setting its own standard, the viability of sailing resumption is at risk to the most lenient standard, since surely it will take just one 'outbreak' on a cruise ship to bring all sailing to a halt. Does Seabourn really want to risk being the laggard that spoils cruising for everyone? If the industry and individual lines like Seabourn won't do this for their own financial self-interest, why should we have any faith or trust they care about their customer's interest?

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1 hour ago, jenidallas said:

But pre-departure testing is only part of that.  We now have to deal with not knowing who is/is not vaccinated onboard and whether we should be exercising elevated precautions around certain passengers.  While I recognize that some passengers perhaps have health reasons for which they cannot be vaccinated, my understanding of those clinical conditions is that they would likely put the passenger in a higher risk category for travel which might not be conducive to cruising in developing economies.  I therefore have to assume that anyone who is unvaccinated is thus willingly unvaccinated and so I question my safety around those passengers for other reasons just beyond vaccination status.  

Bottom line... I am willing to be unmasked in noncrowded situations around a group of totally vaccinated individuals.  But I'm now having to make a lot of assumptions about my safety including understanding what those passengers may have been exposed to in ports.

If we don't go, it will free up cabin space for Seabourn to sell passage to individuals who have different personal health standards.

It is possible for an unvaccinated person to get into Barbados, but they would need to spend at least 5 days in quarantine and I believe they need to be tested at least twice.  Hard to imagine anyone doing that just to avoid a vaccine.  But for what its worth, there is no reason to expect that everyone you interact with in a port will be vaccinated.  And you might also consider that on the Celebrity ship that has been operating out of St Maarten with a 100% vaccination policy there have been some positive cases.  One of the approved vaccines (the J&J) is only about 66% effective and some sources claim that the Moderna and Pfizer vaccines are actually not much better then 90% effective (although some others do think that 90% figure is low).  

 

No guarantees in this world although getting vaccinated sure improves the odds in our favor :).

 

Hank

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4 hours ago, SLSD said:

  I would love to know your top picks other than SB.    

 

Your thoughts regarding Crystal?

 

Scenic, Ritz Carlton, Atlas.....all untried and unproven.  Probably a couple more lines that I'm missing in this category.   Their crew will come from somewhere.  How many former SB crew will we see?

 

H-L....tried and proven.  Not suggested for sociable, non smoking Americans.

 

Skipping the obvious with wide CC following.

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4 minutes ago, saminina said:

 

Your thoughts regarding Crystal?

 

Scenic, Ritz Carlton, Atlas.....all untried and unproven.  Probably a couple more lines that I'm missing in this category.   Their crew will come from somewhere.  How many former SB crew will we see?

 

H-L....tried and proven.  Not suggested for sociable, non smoking Americans.

 

Skipping the obvious with wide CC following.  Added to say that none are top picks.

 

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