MIAMI — Small ship company Windstar Cruises will require passengers to be vaccinated against COVID-19.

The company announced the requirement as it plans to restart cruises in the Caribbean and Mediterranean in June after more than a year out of operation. The company will require crew members to get vaccinated “as soon as vaccinations are available to them.”

Windstar follows Virgin Voyages, which announced earlier this month it will require passengers and crew to be vaccinated when cruises restart. Royal Caribbean Group, which plans to restart cruises in the Caribbean in June, will require crew and passengers over the age of 18 to be vaccinated, and Crystal Cruises, which plans to restart cruises in The Bahamas in July, will require passengers to have the vaccine.

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“Vaccination is another layer of safety for all of us, and it’s the responsible course of action as our yachts resume cruising and our guests travel the world,” said Christopher Prelog, President of Windstar Cruises, in a statement. The company will also require proof of negative COVID-19 test results at embarkation.

Cruises remain banned in the U.S. as the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention reviews cruise companies’ progress on the first phase of its “conditional sail order,” which requires companies to test crew members for COVID-19 weekly and report results to the agency.

In recent days the cruise industry, along with Miami-Dade Mayor Daniella Levine Cava and Florida Governor Ron DeSantis, has ramped up its pressure on the agency to scrap the conditional sail order and allow cruises in the U.S. to resume by July.

Windstar has six cruise ships ranging in size from 148- to 342-passenger capacity. In February the company announced it is moving its headquarters from Seattle to Miami in 2022.

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(Jennifer Luxton / The Seattle Times)

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