COVID-19, VACAYA, and YOU
VACAYA is closely monitoring the constantly shifting Covid-19 protocols and travel requirements around the globe as we keenly focus on protecting the health and safety of our guests and team. That’s why for the foreseeable future, Covid-19 vaccinations are required of ALL GUESTS and VACAYA Staff Members for ALL TRIPS.
This page will be updated as we learn more and as we draw closer to each of our next vacation events.
Upcoming VACAYA Vacation Schedule
- 2021 Iceland Cruise: Shifted two days later to September 3-10, 2021 (Vaccine Required)
- The Vacayans are aware the CDC widened its travel guidance to include Iceland on Aug 9, 2021. However, they followed that statement with fully vaccinated people can travel there. Although the cases per 100,000 residents has increased to a percentage that landed Iceland on the list, it remains one of the least impacted places on earth and thus is safe for a fully vaccinated person to travel. As an example, multiple states in the southern US are much more dangerous places to be at this time.
- 2021 Mexico Resort: On schedule as planned: Oct 30 – Nov 6, 2021 (Vaccine Required)
- 2021 New Orleans Cruise: On schedule as planned: November 14-22, 2021 (Vaccine Required)
- 2022 Caribbean Cruise:On schedule as planned: January 10-17, 2022 (Vaccine Required)
- 2022 Costa Rica Resort: On schedule as planned: June 5-12, 2022 (Vaccine Required)
- 2022 Antarctica Cruise: On schedule as planned: December 6-17, 2022 (Vaccine Required)
Health and Safety protocols are changing every week and we anticipate/are hopeful they will improve between now and each of our events so we will not publish final protocols for our events to our Get Ready pages until 30 days out from our event.
In the meantime, here are links to our partner’s current protocols but please note that they will change and be enhanced many times between now our events:
Our cruise and resort partners have always had stringent measures in place to limit their guests’ exposure to viruses – from norovirus to the common cold (which is, in fact, the most common coronavirus). Because they typically have thousands of people in small spaces over an extended period of time, they’ve built strict regiments to ensure the wellbeing of their guests. At this point, they’re taking heightened safety precautions that will remain in place and will be reviewed daily for revision as conditions warrant. These include boosting boarding screening procedures, implementing hygiene protocols of all guests, and itinerary modifications. We encourage you to learn more from our travel partners’ statements:
- Ponant Cruises: https://us.ponant.com/sail-with-confidence
- American Queen Steamboat Company: https://www.americanqueensteamboatcompany.com/health-and-safety/
- Celebrity Cruises: https://www.celebritycruises.com/health-and-safety
- Hyatt: https://www.hyatt.com/info/coronavirus-statement
THE CHARTER BUSINESS PRIMER
If you missed the recent blog we posted that pulled back the curtain on the charter cruise business, you may find this BACKGROUND INFORMATION helpful as we navigate the next few months together. We hope the transparency within this blog post will answer some of the questions that might be on your mind.
OUR COMMITMENT TO OUR BOOKED GUESTS
It’s impossible to predict the future state of the regions we’ll be visiting. Rest assured proper monitoring of government advisories and our travel partners’ policies will lead to timely decisions regarding any impact to your VACAYA vacation. The items we’re reviewing include (but are not limited to):
- Travel restrictions from government agencies
- Resort & cruise sanitation & testing procedures
- Limitations on air travel
- Local shelter-in-place orders
- Socialization guidelines
- New health protocols, procedures, and preventative measures
- Consumer sentiment
We make the following commitments to you:
- We’ll work diligently to provide our booked guests with advance notice of changes required by our cruise partners and travel advisories by our resort partners.
- In the unlikely event that our cruise or resort partner is non-operational due to Covid-19, there are protocols in place to flow refunds and/or future travel credits from our vacation partners through to our booked guests. Please understand that every trip has its own set of contractual obligations, protocols and timelines. Because of this, we ask for your patience if we find ourselves in this unfortunate situation.
At VACAYA, we respect that our individual guests must make decisions for themselves on a timing that is deemed appropriate for them. If a guest chooses to cancel a VACAYA trip at this point, we certainly understand, however our standard cancellation terms apply. You can find those HERE.
For new bookings, we’ve made it easier than ever to purchase travel insurance. At the end of our online booking process, you’ll be given the opportunity to protect your vacation investment for myriad reasons by purchasing comprehensive insurance from our partner AIG/TravelGuard. Their agents are available at 800.826.5248 and can answer any specific coverage questions. Please note that due to interstate insurance regulations, The Vacayans are not legally allowed to answer questions regarding insurance policy specifics. Although we offer the ability to purchase a policy from TravelGuard as a convenience, you are certainly welcome to shop around. If TravelGuard can’t cover your individual needs, there are many other great insurance companies out there who can. Typically, insurance can be added to any trip up to 14 days following the booking. For a little guidance on travel insurance, explore our INSURANCE BLOG. TravelGuard’s recent statement and FAQs regarding coronavirus can be found HERE.
We value our guests’ health and wellbeing. We provide vacations in order to lift our community to new heights. If you would like us to review your individual situation, please reach out to firstname.lastname@example.org or call us at 718.504.0404 during our standard phone/chat service hours.
While we understand the underlying fears brought on by the intense media attention surrounding Covid-19. Keep in mind that there’s a fine line, of course, between government regulations and recommendations. The one thing we have to do here is deal with actual black and white official and verifiable regulations. We encourage everyone to stay informed and we’ll share more news as things become more concrete. Everything is so fluid as evidenced by the CDC’s recent complete reversal on some cruise specific guidelines they retracted the following day. By August, the final policies and safety procedures will have been in place for at least a month or two. Using the government resource links above, you’ll have an unfettered and unbiased look at events as they develop.
August 8, 2021 UPDATE: Federal judge rules, cruise lines can require Florida passengers to show proof of Covid vaccination. Learn more HERE.
March 19, 2021 UPDATE: Celebrity Cruises Announces Return to Service June 5 with Celebrity Millennium. Read the announcement HERE.
March 16, 2021 UPDATE: Iceland re-opens for ALL Vaccinated or previously infected Covid survivors (with valid antibody test results). Read more HERE.
March 15, 2021 UPDATE: Cruise lines resume sailing in US waters for first time since COVID-19 washed ashore. AQSC returns to service in American waters. Read more HERE.
February 5, 2021 UPDATE: IMMUNOTOURISM: How Covid Vaccines could open up your holiday travel plans
February 2, 2021 UPDATE: American Queen Steamboat Company Announces Required Vaccination to Cruises beginning July 1, 2021
AQSC has introduced SafeCruise, an enhanced set of health and safety protocols throughout the entire cruise experience, and features pre-boarding, boarding and onboard processes to enhance health and safety. Learn more HERE.
January 3, 2021 UPDATE: Dr. Fauci predicts that everyone who wants a vaccine will be able to get one by Spring 2021.
Fauci said, it might also achieve herd immunity in around 75% to 80% of the population by the end of summer or early fall. Read the update in detail HERE.
October 30, 2020 UPDATE – CDC Lifts No-Sail Order for Cruise Ships
Good News! After nearly eight months, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has lifted the No-Sail Order that has restricted all cruise travel to and from the United States, technically allowing the industry to restart phased operations on November 1. Read more HERE.
September 13, 2020 UPDATE – Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain Expresses High Hopes For ‘Game Changing’ Rapid COVID-19 Testing
Royal Caribbean Group CEO Richard Fain has expressed hopes that new ultra-rapid COVID-19 tests could be a “game-changer” that will enable the COVID-19 pandemic to be brought under control. Read more HERE.
September 10, 2020 UPDATE – Cruise CEOs Call for Return to Service in United States
Frank Del Rio, CEO of Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings said the company’s Healthy Sail Panel in collaboration with Royal Caribbean Group was a week to 10 days away from submitting its plan for approval to return to service on Nov 1 out of US ports. Read more HERE.
August 21 , 2020 UPDATE – CDC Drops Recommendation for 14-Day Quarantine After Traveling
The CDC previously recommended travelers quarantine for 14 days after visiting overseas destinations or arriving in areas with a high number of confirmed coronavirus cases, but that changed this week.
According to the CDC, the mandatory quarantine portion of the order has been lifted, with travelers being advised to follow the same protocols people should be following on a daily basis anyway.
The CDC says that regardless of where tourists visit for the remainder of 2020, they should practice social distancing, wear a mask, wash their hands often and monitor for possible symptoms of coronavirus when they return home. Read more HERE.
August 6 , 2020 UPDATE – US State Department Signals Improvement in Area Around UNICO Hotel Riviera Maya
The US State Department has lifted its blanket Level 4 International Travel Advisory and will instead focus on state-by-state and country-by-country advisements. That couples beautifully with the fact that the State of Quintana Roo (where our October UNICO event will be held) has moved from red (completely skipping level orange) to yellow. View the global map HERE.
August 5 , 2020 UPDATE – VACAYA Mexico Resort Vacation Communications
Following a successful site visit to UNICO by VACAYA CEO, Randle Roper, and Danny Cabrera, UNICO Resort Director, we’re pleased to present the VACAYA safety and socialization protocols on the GET READY page. Upcoming key dates:
- Week of August 10 – Entertainment Preview
- Week of August 17 – Book Transfers & Gather Guest Flight Info
- Week of August 24 – Breeze Guests Pre-Book Extras
- October 1 – Deadline for Friends to Book the Trip
July 16 , 2020 UPDATE – VACAYA Mexico Resort Vacation Communications
UNICO is now open for business and receiving great reviews from guests returning to the resort and experiencing the new health and sanitation protocols they’ve implemented. VACAYA CEO, Randle Roper, and Danny Cabrera, UNICO Resort Director, will be meeting with the UNICO hotel staff next week. Shortly after their site visit, we will present a VACAYA safety and socialization protocol ensuring all guests a chance to socially distance, but at the same time mix and mingle at one’s comfort level. We’ll also be announcing entertainers. Party themes have previously been announced and can be found on the Get Ready page here: https://www.myvacaya.com/trip/mexico-resort-2020/get-ready/. We’re looking forward to sharing more soon and welcoming you to the resort in October.
July 16, 2020 UPDATE – CDC Extends Cruise Ship No Sail Order through September 2020
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) announced today the extension of a No Sail Order for cruise ships through September 30, 2020. This order continues to suspend passenger operations on cruise ships with the capacity to carry at least 250 passengers in waters subject to U.S. jurisdiction
+++VACAYA anticipates reviewing Celebrity Cruise Line’s Protocols prior to their return to service in October. At that point, VACAYA will begin mapping out how those protocols will relate to our February 2021 Caribbean cruise. We anticipate completing a draft of that work prior the end of December 2020 with guest communications going out in early January. Thank you for your patience as we navigate these waters together.
June 19 , 2020 UPDATE – Cruise Industry Association (CLIA) Announces Voluntary Suspension of Cruise Operations from U.S. Ports
Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) issued the a statement announcing that the association’s ocean-going cruise line members will voluntarily extend the suspension of cruise operations from U.S. ports until 15 September 2020.
June 8, 2020 UPDATE – ICELAND UPDATES TOURISM TESTING PROTOCOLS FOR SUMMER 2020
All international travelers to Iceland will be tested for COVID-19 upon arrival. Test results from other countries will not be accepted.
- Passengers are required to fill out a pre-registration form (available soon on www.covid.is) before departure to Iceland.
- Testing will be available at Keflavik Airport (KEF).
- Travelers will be charged ISK 15 000 for a single test. That’s roughly $113 USD.
- Following the test, passengers can travel onward to their registered address (provided in their pre-registration form).
- Passengers can expect to receive their test results within 24 hours.
- Those who test positive will be offered to undergo further tests to determine whether they have an active infection. In the case of an active infection, the passenger must self-isolate.
- Passengers are encouraged to download and use the COVID-19 app Rakning C-19.
VACAYA is working hand in hand with Ponant to find ways to streamline this process for our guests. Stay tuned for updates here and you’ll find the final process HERE at least 30 days prior to departure.
June 3, 2020 UPDATE – COVID-19 VACCINE CANDIDATE BY THE END OF 2020 WITH DOSES BY EARLY 2021
Dr. Anthony Fauci, the director of the National Institute of Allergy and Infectious Diseases and a member of the White House Coronavirus Task Force said on June 3rd that the US should have a ‘couple hundred million’ doses of a Covid-19 vaccine by the start of 2021. Read more HERE.
MAY 31, 2020 UPDATE – HOTEL RIVIERA MAYA PROVIDES INITIAL SANITATION PROTOCOLS VIDEO
UNICO launched an initial sanitation protocols VIDEO today. As UNICO reopens and their sanitation protocols continue to be refined, know that The Vacayans are working hand-in-hand with them to ensure a safe and fun VACAYA experience for you this October. To review their protocols overview, visit https://www.unicohotelrivieramaya.com/en/info/hygiene-protocols/. And for detailed protocols, visit https://www.unicohotelrivieramaya.com/en/info/covid-19-measures-unico/.
Because we’ve seen policies shift from week to week in the industry (and sometimes quite dramatically), we’ll simply communicate the final policies that’ll be in place about a month before the trip. That way, you’re equipped with all the applicable guidelines without being burdened with early policies that are likely to evolve along the way.
May 29, 2020 UPDATE – U.S. PASSPORT OFFICES GRADUALLY REOPENING FOR PASSPORT UPDATES
The U.S. State Department announced that U.S. Passport offices will gradually reopen for passport update services. Each passport agency and center will open on a different date based on local conditions so please check with your local branch on exact timing in your area. Read more HERE.
MAY 13, 2020 UPDATE – ICELAND TO WELCOME TOURISTS STARTING JUNE, 2020
Icelandic prime minister Katrín Jakobsdóttir announced that international tourists will be welcome into the country, with restrictions, no later than June 15. Government website HERE. Important notes:
- Testing for SARS-CoV-2 will be available upon arrival, with same-day results available.
- Tourists will not be expected to quarantine and can go on to enjoy what Iceland has to offer as long as they pass the rapid test or have a medical certificate (downloadable) confirming they do not have Covid-19 or pass a rapid test upon entry into country.
- Tourists will not have to test to leave the country.
- Final details will be announced by end of May, 2020.
MAY 12, 2020 UPDATE – UNICO HOTEL RIVIERA MAYA PROVIDES INITIAL SANITATION PROTOCOLS
Today, UNICO provided initial sanitation protocols for their reopening. You’ll find them HERE. We believe this is a good start but there will be more to come. Because we’ve seen policies shift from week to week (and sometimes quite dramatically), we’ll simply communicate the final policies on our trip Get Ready page that’ll be in place about a month before our trip. That way, you’re equipped with all the applicable guidelines without being burdened with early policies that are likely to be adjusted along the way.
MAY 5, 2020 UPDATE: CANCUN, MEXICO AND UNICO HOTEL RIVIERA MAYA TO REOPEN IN JUNE
UNICO Hotel Riviera Maya and the Cancun International Airport have just announced they’ll reopen June 1, 2020 and many airlines are restoring daily service to Cancun in June, well ahead of VACAYA’s event in October.
APRIL 11, 2020 UPDATE – CLIA (CRUISE LINES INTERNATIONAL ASSOCIATION) WEIGHS IN ON CDC EXTENSION OF NO SAIL ORDER
CLIA claims that CDC singling out cruise industry is unfair and unfounded because cruising is neither the source or cause of the virus or its spread. Read more HERE.
MARCH 22, 2020 UPDATE – VACAYA COMMUNICATION TOOLS TO STAY CONNECTED
In this Facebook post, VACAYA shares how we stand ready to serve our guests in these challenging times . Have a look HERE.
MARCH 19, 2020 UPDATE – VACAYA UNVEILS THE BASICS OF THE CHARTER BUSINESS
In this blog post, VACAYA takes a deeper look at the differences between a charter and standard cruise as they relate to Covid-19. Have a look HERE.
MARCH 8, 2020 UPDATE – VACAYA’S INITIAL RESPONSE TO COVID-19
As we’re all witnessing, governments, companies, and the public are quickly moving beyond individual prevention (proper hygiene, social distancing, and testing) to collective public action (quarantine and public gathering management). As we draw closer to our next vacation in late June, we’ll be constantly monitoring key information sources from trusted government agencies and our cruise and resort partners to determine next steps.