Saga Cruises has said it will demand passengers are vaccinated against COVID-19 ahesd of boarding, becoming the first cruise line in the world to do so.

The over-50s cruise line will require passengers to have the vaccine 14 days before departure as part of a range of new health and safety protocols. Other procedures include pre-departure testing for guests, reduced capacity and enhanced cleaning around the ship.

Speaking about the decision, a spokesman for the cruise line said: “The health and safety of our customers has always been our number one priority at Saga, so we have taken taken the decision to require everyone travelling with us to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Our customers want the reassurance of the vaccine and to know others travelling with them will be vaccinated too.”

Saga has postponed its return to cruising to May to allow time for passengers to receive the vaccine, with Spirit of Adventure’s inaugural voyage now scheduled for 4 May 2021. Spirit of Discovery will now sail on 2 June.