Mixed vaccines could keep British Columbians from cruise travel

Chilliwack retirees Della and Rob Jansen have been on 23 cruises, and number 24 is scheduled for November.

“This is what we do, we cruise. And we cruise because this is a way for us to relax, it takes away our anxieties,” said Della.

But the couple may have to cancel the 13-day Royal Caribbean cruise out of Florida, because Rob had two different mRNA vaccines. The cruise line only allows for that if the doses are between 28 and 42 days apart, but Canada’s interval is longer than that.

“Mine was done within seven weeks so that’s 49 days. So I’m just out of that time frame, which means I would be considered not fully vaccinated,” said Rob.

The 59-year-old could still sail, but large parts of the ship would be off limits.

“You can’t enjoy yourself or relax. You always wonder, 'What is my protocol based on me being unvaccinated?' Which really, he is vaccinated,” said Della.

The couple wants the federal government to advocate for Canadians who had mixed vaccines.

“It’s our health professionals that told us it was OK to do something different than what the CDC put on their website. I think the onus is on them to rectify this,” said Della.

Sanjay Goel, the president of Vancouver-based Cruise Connections, believes discussions are already happening, pointing out the prime minister had two different vaccines.

Currently rules about sailing with mixed vaccines vary depending on the cruise company and the destination of the cruise.

“There is no question the uncertainty creates confusion, and that creates anxiety and so forth for guests,” said Goel. “It has rapidly changed a few times back and forth -- flips-flops so to speak --over the last 10 days or so, which hasn’t helped.”

Goel does think the industry will become more consistent as cruises resume around the world.

“I’m pretty confident much of this will iron itself out, but it’s going to take some time,” Goel said.

The Jansens are hoping the rules will change before their November cruise, or they will once again be stuck on dry land this winter.