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Boosters required at European ports


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A week ago, I spoke to a very understanding and professional Virgin representative. I explained that we are concerned about the new protocols requiring boosters in Europe (primarily Spain…we will be flying into Barcelona prior to the cruise..…which is a must, of course!). Our son begrudgingly was vaccinated, getting quite ill after each shot. There is no way that he will get another shot/booster. She told me to call back in a week. I just spoke to another rep, who was incredibly rude and belligerent. He continued to say that the cruise (French Daze and Ibiza Nights, June 19th), is a “closed loop cruise and these protocols don’t apply”. I said that is ridiculous, as we will need to fly into Barcelona prior and won’t be on the cruise at that point. He continued to insist that it won’t matter and that the other ports (Ibiza, etc) will not matter either. That makes zero sense. He then hung up on me. Unbelievable. I have been on hold with Virgin for over an hour, after calling back. Not an 800 number. A long distance call to Fort Lauderdale.  Last week and on my first call this evening, I was able to leave a callback number. Not this time. This is all leaving me feeling very negative towards Virgin. Can anyone shed light on these protocols or provide thoughts? Thank you 

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Looking at the advice on the UK Government website, you will need to have a booster IF your previous shot of your 2 dose vaccine was more than 270 days ago. This will be detailed on the Health Control Form you must complete before travelling. It says the Booster can be taken any time and does not need to be more than 14 days before travel.

 

Things are changing rapidly so keep an eye on the Govt website but at the moment you only need the booster if you were fully vaccinated more than 270 days ago (roughly 9 months).

 

https://www.gov.uk/foreign-travel-advice/spain/entry-requirements

 

Don

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Thanks Don. I will be 1 year post-vaccinated, at date of cruise. This is causing a real quandary for our family trip. My daughter and her BF want to go and will get the booster if they have to. My son and his GF will not. It appears that anyone going on a European cruise will have to have the booster. Virgin (and other lines) should be making this very clear to those booked. For Virgin’s rep to insist we don’t need the booster (and to hang up on me as I was trying to explain the situation TO HIM, is extremely unacceptable)

Will cruise lines be giving refunds to those that don’t want to follow these recently announced protocols? I’ve also e-mailed Virgin’s customer service. So far, no reply 

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Our travel agent was able to contact them and I believe that they have started the process of issuing a refund.  Very sad about the entire thing. Had also booked flights and an air bnb in Barcelona. I can’t believe that Virgin never even contacted me after relaying my experience with “customer service” to them. Speaks volumes 

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It’s not up to a cruise line or an airline to ensure you meet the entry requirements of places you travel to. You need to check what visas and vaccines are required for the country you are travelling to.
when I go to the USA I don’t expect Virgin Atlantic to help with my ESTA, I look up what the requirements of the US are for us to enter. 
 

If you are flying into Barcelona prior to the cruise then you need to ensure you can enter Spain from the flight so actually it has nothing to do with the cruise anyway and if anything it’s to do with the airline. 

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I absolutely understand that. The problem is that when I was trying to explain to the Virgin rep that we would have a problem going on our cruise, due to the booster requirement in Barcelona, he wasn’t understanding anything that I was saying. He was insisting that we would be fine without the booster. I explained that we would need to fly to Barcelona and be IN Barcelona, prior to stepping on the ship. He became belligerent and just hung up. 

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  • 4 weeks later...

I got no help from Virgin, but the KLM website and KLM rep was great.  The bottom line is that Spain requires a booster within 270 days to enter the country.  It has nothing to do with the ship or the cruise, it has to do with the requirements of the Spanish government.  Of course, the requirements may change between now and the time of my cruise.

I was also concerned about the test requirements to board the ship as we will be flying in from the US, so there is no practical way to be tested within the 2 day window.  The last think I wanted to do was to figure out how to be tested in Barcelona before boarding.  I was told that Virgin would be doing testing "on all passengers" at the cruise terminal prior to boarding and advised to show up earlier than my scheduled time because "the number of people needing to be tested can delay embarkation."  What he couldn't answer was whether this testing was included in the cruise fare or whether there was an additional fee.

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20 hours ago, cantgetin said:



I was also concerned about the test requirements to board the ship as we will be flying in from the US, so there is no practical way to be tested within the 2 day window.  The last think I wanted to do was to figure out how to be tested in Barcelona before boarding.  I was told that Virgin would be doing testing "on all passengers" at the cruise terminal prior to boarding and advised to show up earlier than my scheduled time because "the number of people needing to be tested can delay embarkation."  What he couldn't answer was whether this testing was included in the cruise fare or whether there was an additional fee.

For UK/European cruises the test window is 72 hours, per the Voyage Well info. It's a little confusing that there are different timelines for Caribbean & UK/European cruises. This might make it easier for you, depending on when you are leaving the US. Just be aware of the time difference as they specify in hours not days - they state 72 hrs before boarding, not 3 days.

 

https://www.virginvoyages.com/voyage-well#europe-pre-sail-checklist

 

With the advancement in travel and access to COVID testing facilities, Sailors will now be required to arrive at the terminal with a negative privately administered RT-PCR Test (or similar NAAT test) or Laboratorial Rapid Antigen test that was administered within 72 hours of boarding. This will not only allow you to get tested at your convenience but also greatly reduce the time you have to spend in the terminal before hopping on our beautiful lady ship.

For UK residents only sailing on Valiant Lady we are currently able to offer a FREE at home option with our approved testing partner. Details will be emailed to you in advance of your sailing. For other locations and sailings, we will update as details are available.

We will be accepting the following tests that have been supervised/administered by a health professional – doctor, nurse, clinician, pharmacy technician, or live telehealth professional:

  • PCR: A polymerase chain reaction molecular test, commonly called a “PCR test” or “NAAT test”
  • Antigen: An antigen test, also called a rapid antigen test or a lateral flow test

On your embarkation date, Sailors are to bring any of the following accepted formats of testing documentation showing a negative test result: 

  • Printed document
  • An email
  • PDF or Image of a Certified result (not a cartridge or lollypop image)
  • Telehealth/Clinicians Application notification

The following test formats will not be accepted:

  • A handwritten doctor’s notes
  • An image of a test cartridge
  • A physical test cartridge or “lollypop”


UK Residents:
As mentioned above, Sailors who are residents in the UK traveling on Valiant Lady may take advantage of our FREE at-home test from our partners at NHP Group — an exclusive, Virgin Voyages approved partner. Look out for the email in advance of your sailing. You will need to bring this completed test with you.

If for whatever reason you forget, misplace the results, or provide a test that does not meet local regulations, we will be offering a limited number of tests at the terminal for £40 GBP ($54 USD) per test, per Sailor.

Please be mindful that all Sailors should still arrive at the terminal during their scheduled arrival time slot. Should you arrive early, you will need to wait outside the terminal until your slotted time.

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