Bahamas to Require Cruise Ship Passengers to Show Proof of Vaccine at Ports

All Bahamas islands will require cruise ship passengers to present proof of COVID vaccine prior to entering any port. - Photo by MSC Cruises

(Latest Update: August 24, 2021) Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis issued an emergency order which will require all eligible cruise ship passengers (12 years and older) to be fully vaccinated to enter any port in the Bahamas. This order will go into effect on September 3, 2021 and will be valid through November 1, 2021. This guidance will cover all islands in the Bahamas, including all privately-owned cruise line islands. 

The new emergency order states the following: 

  • Effective the 3rd day of September 2021, until the 1st day of November 2021, a cruise ship which is on a passenger voyage shall not be permitted to enter a port in the Bahamas (including a private stop) unless:
    • The Captain or Master of the cruise ship transmits a crew and passenger manifest to the port medical officer, which discloses the vaccination status of all persons prior to arriving at the port.
    • All passengers who are 12 years old and older were fully vaccinated prior to embarking on the cruise ship at the start of the voyage. 
    • The health protocols, previously submitted by its cruise line to the Competent Authority and approved by the Competent Authority, has been complied with.
  • This new guidance will not apply to 
    • Crew, contractors and any non-revenue passenger of that cruise ship and whatever protocols that were previously agreed to between the Government of The Bahamas and each cruise line in relation to its crew, contractors and non-revenue passenger shall remain in effect. 
    • A cruise ship attempting to call at a port in an emergency, or in other exigent circumstances approved by the Government of The Bahamas. 
    • An unvaccinated passenger who is eligible for the COVID-19 vaccination due to medical contraindications.

Several major cruise lines are currently sailing in the Caribbean, with ports of call including stops in various destinations throughout the Bahamas. The following cruise lines have issued responses and new protocols to fit this new order: 

MSC Cruises: 

As we continue to monitor updated requirements in the destinations we visit, we must advise you of a change just announced by the Bahamian Government requiring all visitors (12 years and older) to be fully vaccinated when visiting the Bahamas. This new protocol impacts MSC sailings departing from PortMiami and Port Canaveral from September 3, 2021 through and including sailings of October 31, 2021.

MSC Cruises will now be requiring all guests 12 years and older to be fully vaccinated on all sailings beginning September 3, 2021 through and including sailings of October 31, 2021 departing from PortMiami and Port Canaveral. All fully vaccinated guests, 12 years and older, will be asked to present their original CDC vaccination card at the pier upon embarkation. All fully vaccinated guests must provide documentation of a negative COVID-19 test at the pier. All not fully vaccinated guests 2 to 11 years old must provide documentation of a negative RT-PCR, or NAAT test at the pier. 

If you are 12 years and older and currently booked on a MSC Cruises itinerary departing from PortMiami or Port Canaveral beginning September 3, 2021 through and including sailings of October 31, 2021 and you are not fully vaccinated and will not be vaccinated 14 days prior to the cruise, you are eligible for a full refund of any funds currently on your booking.

Royal Caribbean: 

For all sailings departing from a U.S. or Bahamas port through September 31, 2021, all guests 12 years and older must bring proof of vaccination with the final dose of the vaccine completed at least 14 days before sailing. All guests age 2 and older — regardless of their vaccination status or the length of their cruise — will need to take a COVID-19 test (PCR or antigen) with an accredited test provider no more than 3 days before arriving at the terminal and show their negative test result upon arriving. The results can be printed out, or can be presented on your phone, such as the email result from your test provider. Costs associated with this test are the guest’s responsibility. In addition to the pre-cruise test, kids ages 2 - 11 will take one or two more tests, depending on the length of the cruise. Royal Caribbean’s test provider will administer these, at no cost to our guests. Guests under 2 years of age will not be tested.

Carnival Cruise Line: 

Requirements for cruise ships to enter ports outside the U.S. continue to evolve and Carnival Cruise Line must operate in full compliance with these regulations. Most recently, the Government of The Bahamas has announced that effective September 3, cruise lines calling on any Bahamian port must be able to confirm that all guests 12 and older are fully vaccinated, with exemptions only for those with a medical condition that prohibit vaccination. Other destinations in the Caribbean normally included in our itineraries have implemented similar limitations. Given the number of itineraries that include multiple destinations throughout the Caribbean and, in particular, in The Bahamas, and the need for us from time to time to adjust itineraries due to medical, technical or weather emergencies, we will now operate all sailings under this requirement. Consequently, effective with embarkations on or after August 28 from all U.S. Atlantic and Gulf home ports, vaccine exemptions will be limited to children under 12, and those with a medical condition that does not allow them to be vaccinated.

Celebrity Cruises: 

As of September 3, 2021, the government of the Bahamas will require all guests, 12 years of age and older, to be fully vaccinated in order to enter the country by air or sea. This will include guests traveling on a cruise ship. When arriving to the Bahamas directly by air, all guests, two years of age and older, regardless of vaccination status, will now be required to present a negative COVID-19 test result. This test may be taken as either a PCR test or an Antigen test, conducted within five days prior to arrival. 

Disney Cruise Line: 

Beginning September 3 until November 1, 2021, The Bahamas will require that all cruise ship passengers ages 12 and older be fully vaccinated in order for a ship to be allowed entry into any of its cruise ports, including private islands like Disney Castaway Cay. To comply with this new requirement, all Guests ages 12 and older on upcoming sailings must be fully vaccinated to board the ship. Approved vaccines include those produced by Pfizer, Moderna, AstraZeneca and Johnson & Johnson. 

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