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ACL requiring vaccinations now!


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We are suppose to sail on the Queen of the Mississippi next week. I called to get some info today about the Covid testing and found out that they just decided that vaccinations were mandatory now. Unfortunately, my brother is not vaccinated because he is not eligible in his state. They said sorry he can’t go. No letter, no email, just a oh by the way your brother will not be allowed on the boat. It would of been nice if he would of been told. They just said, oh sorry, someone was suppose to notify him. They called last week to tell us that we would be staying on the boat on Friday instead of a hotel and confirmed flight info. They asked about vaccinations, and said they encouraged them but not mandatory at this time. 


So FYI, VACCINATIONS ARE NOW MANDATORY AS OF LAST TUESDAY!

 

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I would talk with a supervisor or someone up the line.  I agree that vaccinations should be required, but they should NOT make this policy 1 week before a cruise sails.  This is ACL's policy NOT the policy of a country requiring vaccinations for entry.

ACL should make the requirement for vaccinations apply to cruises starting in late May or June NOT in 1 week.

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Something doesn’t sound right. There is nothing on their website or in the news referencing this change. Their website still requires a negative PCR test and they recommend a vaccination but it is not required. Has anyone else been told of this requirement.

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Agree with BaumD.  ACL website has been saying since early Feb that (1) vaccinations are recommended but not required, but (2) a PCR test IS required.  Sure, vaccinations are starting to become available, but they are not that widespread yet.  AQSC is not mandating them until July 1, which sounds about right.  Have to wonder if all the personnel at ACL are on the same page.  On Feb 25 jkaleh posted "From e-mail from ACL to me 2/19/21: If guests do not have their test results available at the time of boarding we will conduct our own testing, once we confirm a negative test result they will be allowed to board."  So from "pre-PCR tests are not really required" to "vaccinations are now mandatory," without any update to the website policy??  Doesn't seem to compute.  I'm assuming the word you got from ACL was directly from them and not indirectly through a TA.  Like MSEm says, I'd contact them again and speak to someone else.

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After speaking with multiple customer service reps I asked for Supervisor. Of course, Friday afternoon no one available. I requested to stay on hold till she found one. After a long hold I gave up. I was at work and couldn’t hang on the phone. But about 20min later I got a call from a supervisor Becky in Utah. She told me that ACL made the decision last Tuesday and they were trying to contact everyone. She said she was sorry and I asked if my brother got his vaccine on Saturday-(he was on a wait list) could he go? She said no. She said he had to be vaccinated 2 weeks. I told her about the other customer service telling me only 1 week, and she said she is wrong. She said ACL has the right to change their policies at anytime and that there only concern is for the welfare and safety of there passengers, blah, blah, blah.
So they cancelled his reservation last night. They said to call back Monday about a refund. The lady told my brother he should get a refund even though it was a cruise voucher because ACL will deny him boarding. We will see if that is true.


My brother has been trying to get his vaccine but hasn’t been eligible. His group doesn’t open till the 22nd. 

Today he was called a told they had some leftover vaccine and he was able to get his 1st shot. Unfortunately, a little too late. Oh also, he had Covid and had documentation of his treatment. They didn’t care about that! 

 

Even today, ACL website does not say anything about mandatory vaccines.

The Jazz was suppose to sail today, I hadn’t heard anything.

 

I am a healthcare provider and I have my vaccination. There was 6 or us going on this cruise all with vaccinations except my brother who had Covid late last year. He has natural immunity but that isn’t good enough for ACL even though there website and our Pre-board info says “Covid vaccine is recommended”

 

I am happy that the cruise lines are requiring vaccinations. I strongly feel this was handled very wrong!!! ACL made a decision abruptly last Tuesday, not in line with the other cruise companies American Steamboat, and Victory starting July 1st, and RCL & Celebrity on there June cruises. However no announcement anywhere. Not on there website, Facebook, Twitter, or on any search on google. Just my brother being told he is no welcome aboard, humm.....

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I'm very sorry about how your brother [and others in his situation] were impacted by this – but if I were a passenger on this cruise I would feel very much safer with this rule in place.  With the government registries of vaccinations, this is the one bright-line rule that cruise lines can adopt that will provide a clear rule and increase safety.  I'm sure your brother does have natural immunity from having the disease, but that isn't as easy to prove at this point.  [When I was the manager of a customer-facing department, I learned early on that it was better to have an imperfect rule that my staff could understand and apply evenly, than to try for a perfect rule that was confusing and subject to interpretation.]

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7 hours ago, DaveinCharlotte said:

Agree with BaumD.  ACL website has been saying since early Feb that (1) vaccinations are recommended but not required, but (2) a PCR test IS required.  Sure, vaccinations are starting to become available, but they are not that widespread yet.  AQSC is not mandating them until July 1, which sounds about right.  Have to wonder if all the personnel at ACL are on the same page.  On Feb 25 jkaleh posted "From e-mail from ACL to me 2/19/21: If guests do not have their test results available at the time of boarding we will conduct our own testing, once we confirm a negative test result they will be allowed to board."  So from "pre-PCR tests are not really required" to "vaccinations are now mandatory," without any update to the website policy??  Doesn't seem to compute.  I'm assuming the word you got from ACL was directly from them and not indirectly through a TA.  Like MSEm says, I'd contact them again and speak to someone else.

I spoke with ACL customer service reps Serena, Amy, Lisa & Jeff. Also Becky a supervisor. I originally called last night to clarify the Covid test requirements because they told my brother/sister-in-law that the Walgreens Rapid ID Now test was now acceptable. They called me because I am in the medical field and they didn’t understand the test. Our pre-board paperwork says PCR or molecular test. Walgreens has ID NOW NAAT molecular test used for airlines and travel. We had to use it to go to Hawaii last month. ACL customer reps just kept saying no, it has to be PCR. Anything that says rapid is not acceptable. I tried to show them that it was a molecular test but all they said was “if you show up with that test you will be denied boarding”. I asked what would happen if our PCR was not back in time because they have getting on the ship the day before we cruise now and they said “If that happens the doctor will perform a rapid antigen test on you so you can board the ship.” I asked, so why spend the money on the PCR if I can get a Rapid Antigen by to doctor and they said, “because it is required”. I told them that that didn’t make sense, but that didn’t matter. They didn’t have a logical answer and just kept reading what they are told to say. Very frustrating!!


Here is some good info from the FDA about the tests and level of accuracy. 
The antigen test is less accurate with more false negatives result.

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cwatts15, I am dumbfounded and dismayed...not at the new rule itself, but at the way ACL is introducing it.  At first I thought this was all due to some kind of miscommunication, but now (thanks to your detailed info) I see this was not the case.

 

With a 3- or 4-week delay between shots and a 2-week post incubation period, anyone on today's Jazz cruise from NOLA or Independence cruise back from Charleston would have to have started their vaccinations in early February or sooner.  For most locales, vaccines were only just starting to show up then, and available only for those of the highest-level priority.  How could more than a few passengers have managed to qualify in time?

 

This abruptness of this important policy change (and still no web update) to me hints at a panic reaction.  I wonder if something occurred on the inaugural cruise to trigger this.

  

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CWatts15

I am so very sorry to learn how ACL is treating not only your brother, but everyone in your party.

Is ACL willing to reimburse,  everyone in your party for the cruise and cost such as the cost of air fare?

I agree that requiring Covid vaccination should be required, but ACL should NOT have such a policy that begins 1 or 2 weeks before a cruse sails. 

I booked an Alaskan cruise on March 15 that sails on June 14. Required to be paid in full no later than March 16. I was NOT told that vaccinations would be required.

It seems that ACL is making up policy without giving any though on how it will effect their guest or

possible future guest.

ACL  vessels are American flagged with headquarters in Guilford, CT. ACL will have competitor for MS river cruises in 2022.

As someone booked for a first ACL cruise in June, I am beginning to question the wisdom of booking an ACL cruise. If a cruise line will change procedural policies  with no warning, what policy will ACL next change? Will ACL require a valid Passport to Board?. I did have a ticket agent ask for my passport when I was flying from ATL to Hawaii.  The Agent in training stated," Passports are required for any fights flying over the ocean."

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12 hours ago, cwatts15 said:

I originally called last night to clarify the Covid test requirements because they told my brother/sister-in-law that the Walgreens Rapid ID Now test was now acceptable. They called me because I am in the medical field and they didn’t understand the test. Our pre-board paperwork says PCR or molecular test. Walgreens has ID NOW NAAT molecular test used for airlines and travel.

 

cwatts15, I'm guessing that you made a tiny typo and meant to say they told you the Walgreens Rapid ID Now test was not acceptable.

 

Here's what I found on my local Walgreens website:

Types of tests

Diagnostic Lab Test (PCR): The RT-PCR Diagnostic Panel Test - NAAT is used to detect genetic material (mRNA) of the coronavirus and will be sent to a laboratory to determine results in a variable amount of time†.

 

Rapid Diagnostic Test (ID NOW): The Rapid Point-of-Care (POC) - NAAT (ID NOW) test also detects genetic material of the virus. The test is performed on site with results available within 24 hours.

 

Rapid Antigen Test (BinaxNOW): Rapid Point-of-Care (POC) Test - Antigen (BinaxNOW) is an antigen test that detects the presence of a specific viral antigen. The test is performed on site, with results available the same day. These tests imply current viral infection and help determine if an individual is actively infected with COVID-19 and can spread it to others. 

 

So it appears you are right, the "ID NOW" test is indeed a "nucleic acid amplification test," just like the PCR test, and maybe this also means "molecular."  But it is done on site, not in a laboratory, and therefore I guess ACL chooses to give it less credence -- their right.  Strange, though, that if one were to simply claim their PCR is late (a very realistic possibility!), they will then simply administer the quickie antigen test and say "OK."

 

Our local Walgreens does offer both kinds of test, but the PCR one is done at very few locations.  It's hard to schedule the test so that on the one hand it is LATE enough that when you get to the ship it is still sufficiently recent, but on the other is EARLY enough that the results are ready on time -- a very narrow window!

 

I hope that with the more stringent vaccination policy in place, ACL will loosen the testing policy.  

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6 hours ago, MSEm said:

What is the required proof for covid vaccination?

I have not been told that I need to bring proof of vaccination, only proof of Covid PCR. I have a no idea if anyone on the Jazz or Independence were required to have vaccine. In fact, I was hoping that there would be others that would post that they heard the same thing or were told they needed the vaccine, but everything is silent. Maybe my brother is the only one? Strange that there has not been any “breaking news”, “Another cruise ship makes Covid vaccinations mandatory” Everything is hush hush!



 


 

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Yes... I was told also vaccinations were required by ACL  yesterday (3/20/21)  when I called ACL and spoke to two of their representatives.  I had never received any email informing me of this mandatory vaccination requirement,  nor did my ship partner who lives in another State, but I found out about it by chance when I called (one week before departing).  I asked the Representatives “ what about if  you already had C O VI D, but couldn’t get the vaccine yet”, and they answered they “didn’t know”. I don’t know what to expect when arriving Friday 3/26 for the Lower Mississippi cruise but for myself the Customer Service I have received since booking this cruise (originally 12/2019) has been “That the left hand doesn’t know what the right hand is doing”.  Very nice personnel just poor communication that is causing much stress and financial duress to many people.  They have cancelled twice on us,  but they say “the third time is a charm” I’m trying to stay optimistic” even though their is a bitter taste in my mouth regarding American Cruise Lines and some of their deceptivness.  It is still not posted on their website tonight about mandatory vaccinations,  so are they singling people out to reject boarding when they arrive in New Orleans?  
 

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On 3/20/2021 at 10:41 PM, Host Jazzbeau said:

... if I were a passenger on this cruise I would feel very much safer with this rule in place.

 

Sure, you and the lucky few who got their vaccinations early might indeed feel safer, but I think you will be having a very lonely cruise.  I say that because, as I posted above, it takes 5-6 weeks to be fully vaccinated, and back in early Feb vaccine appointments were hard to come by.  I am over 75, in NC's next-to-highest priority category, and even I couldn't get my first appointment until March 10.  The last time I checked the figures, only 16% of NC residents have been fully vaccinated.

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I have long expected vaccinations will be required for travel.  It is a constantly changing situation.   My April PUGET sound cruise was cancelled it was 3rd reschedule.  I opted to reschedule a cruise for next year.  The constant not knowing if we could cruise depressed me.

 

I will be cruising with son and granddaughter (25).  Anticipating the a travel requirement of vaccination  hopefully by next year she will be vaccinated.  
 

it is a frustrating time,  especially since I am short on patience.  I think ACL is doing the best they can...  I was hoping to see some reports from the SE CRUISE   t hat just ended.   

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The minute one cruise line announced that they were demanding vaccines for all passengers, that immediately became 'best practice' – and every cruise line's lawyers will be telling them they must follow suit to avoid liability.

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Which cruise lines are requiring full covid vaccination for cruises beginning this week (March 22, 2021)

ACL has NOT changed their written policy from Covid Vaccinations are RECOMMEND.  RECOMMEND is not REQUIRED.

Why is ACL not notifying Travel Agents? My travel agent was NOT told.

Also why did ACL NOT notify customers making FINAL payment.

Why is ACL telling guest only if the guest calls with another question.

 

ACL is not giving me any "warm fuzzies" over the way this change in Protocol has been enacted.

I made a final full payment on Wednesday, March 17. Neither I nor my TA were or have been informed about the change in Covid Vaccination Protocol.

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1 hour ago, MSEm said:

Which cruise lines are requiring full covid vaccination for cruises beginning this week (March 22, 2021)

Rephrase the question as:  Which cruise lines are requiring full COVID vaccination beginning with their first cruise of 2021?  and the answer is:  many

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No the question is Which cruise line has made a major change in Covid Protocol less than 2 weeks before sailing?

 

Did the lawyers tell ACL that it is BEST PRACTICE To change a major requirement to board less than 2 weeks before sailing.

is it Best Practice to NOT TELL Travel Agents?

is it Best Practice to NOT tell guest making final payment of the change?

Is it Best Practice to NOT put this change on their web site?

 

I have no problem with requiring guest to be fully covid vaccinated for June or later sailing.

I have a problem with ACL NOT informing me of this change when i made final payment and there is be a penalty if cancelled.  I made final payment the day after ACL began the vaccination requirement.

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Today ACL contacted me and asked me if the 4 remaining people in our family were planning on canceling our cruises and wanted refunds. We all discussed it over the weekend and spite our anger for what ACL has done, we have decided to still go. This is our 3rd rebooking and my mom and uncle are concerned with their advancing age and health issues that they might not be able to go if we rebook in the fall. So I told them we were going. She told me that ACL would issue full refund of the voucher in a check, not a credit.  I asked why the website still said the Covid vaccine was recommended and not mandatory and that no announcement has been made? She just said they were working to notify the passengers that wouldn’t be able to go. I also asked if we will have to show proof of vaccination and she said yes, it will be mandatory. I asked to when they were going to notify passengers to bring there vaccination cards? Well I got the same response, we are working on it.

 

She told me not to worry If our PCR tests doesn’t come back in time, the doctor will perform the Covid antigen test on you so can board. 

So Friday, I am told by customer service that the Walgreens ID Now NAAT molecular test that is highly accurate, will not be accepted and that I would not be able to board the ship, but now if my PCR is not back when I board that they will have the doctor screen me and use a rapid antigen test that has a higher incidence of false negatives, and if negative I could board.

Sometimes I just don’t understand the logic.

 

Anyways, I was able to talk to someone who was checked out my story. They told her that mandatory vaccines only applied to sailing before April 10th. They never mentioned that to me. So for basically a month trial with only vaccinated passengers???

And they said they made written contact with passengers, we still have yet to receive a letter.

 

https://www.travelweekly.com/River-Cruising/American-Cruise-Lines-requires-passenger-vaccination

 

 

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This thread is starting to sound like nextdoor app.  Get over it.  Everyone get vaccinated and move on.  If  you don’t want vaccinations cancel your cruise.   The stress of what will be required and how to comply is too much for me.  I opted to wait until 2022 to cruise.  My family will all be vaccinated,  most of the travel kinks should be resolved.  
 

I guarantee the ACL wants happy cruisers.  This a new frontier and they are trying their best to have successful cruises.   Since the majority of ACL cruisers are retired expecting everyone to be vaccinated  is reasonable. Be proactive get vaccinated.

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20 hours ago, Host Jazzbeau said:

The minute one cruise line announced that they were demanding vaccines for all passengers, that immediately became 'best practice' – and every cruise line's lawyers will be telling them they must follow suit to avoid liability.

 

What ACL is doing is not what the other cruise lines have announced.  So far as I know, other cruise lines are mandating vaccine dates several months from now, when it is reasonable to expect most everyone will have had a chance to be vaccinated.   

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4 hours ago, Izena said:

This thread is starting to sound like nextdoor app.  Get over it.  Everyone get vaccinated and move on.  If  you don’t want vaccinations cancel your cruise.   The stress of what will be required and how to comply is too much for me.

 

Izena, where do you get the idea that the folks posting here are against vaccinations?  I think everyone agrees vaccinations are the best way out of this situation.  The problem is it's a long process getting the vaccines distributed, scheduling an appointment, getting the shots, and waiting out the extra time to be considered fully vaccinated.  By late spring, sure, that deadline can easily be met.  But to abruptly declare vaccinations are mandatory NOW - you think that's reasonable? 

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Looks like ACL did make a change to their online COVID Protocol. Looks like they added the following sentence in BOLD letters:

 

These requirements may vary depending on the region and dates of travel, but at a minimum will include the requirement for a negative COVID-19 test result. 

 

Pretty vague and nothing specific for travelers.

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