With an estimated 20,000 passengers in the Caribbean, 10% of whom may be infected with the Zika virus and other diseases like dengue and chikungunya, The Bahamas has decided to extend its mandatory vaccination requirement for cruise travelers. Though this is a good sign that countries are taking steps to protect their citizens from infectious disease outbreaks abroad as well as domestically, it does pose questions about how we define “domestic.”
The “bahamas cruise restrictions” is a new mandate that the Bahamas has put in place for cruise visitors. The mandate will extend to all visitors arriving on or before December 31, 2019.
The Bahamas’ government has announced that the country’s vaccine requirement for cruise ships arriving in the Bahamas would be extended. From November 1, 2021, when the existing order expires, the extension will last until 2022.
Several cruise companies changed their onboard rules from COVID-19 vaccination optional to COVID-19 vaccine required after the Bahamas became one of the first cruise destinations to enforce the requirement for cruise ships earlier this year.
The Bahamas is looking for tourists who can trust them.
The Bahamas’ administration is working to create much-needed trust in cruise ship passengers visiting the Bahamas. The extension will have little impact since most cruise companies already have a substantial majority, if not all, of their passengers properly vaccinated against COVID-19.
“We are taking efforts to extend that until 2022,” Tourism, Investments, and Aviation Minister Chester Cooper said. We’ll be keeping a careful eye on it in the future. We’re in constant contact with our numerous cruise partners. As you may be aware, we welcomed Virgin Voyages cruises, a new ship to our beaches, last week, but we feel that immunization is the best way to attract visitors to our shores in a balanced and ethical manner.
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All cruise guests aged 12 and over are required by the Bahamas government to be completely vaccinated against COVID-19. The law does not apply to personnel, contractors, or any non-revenue passengers already agreed upon by the government and cruise companies. The prior order was set to expire on November 1, 2021, and it went into force on September 3, 2021.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) in the United States has extended the Conditional Sail Order, which means that the current regulations will stay in effect until January 15, 2022; there is hence no incentive for The Bahamas to remove any of its policies:
“We observe that vaccination rates are typically in the upper 60s to low 70s in the US market,” says Minister Chester Cooper. Because of this requirement, we know that our cruise guests who visit The Bahamas are vaccinated. It’s good for The Bahamas, it’s good for the tourist sector, and we feel that as we expand this regulation, it will help us build the tourism industry in a more balanced manner.”
Photo credit: Shutterstock.com / Giongi63
The Bahamas’ Entry Requirements
For cruise ships visiting the Bahamas, vaccinations are required. Guests boarding a ship in the Bahamas, on the other hand, must follow somewhat different protocols than those boarding in the United States.
Those flying to The Bahamas from other countries who have been completely vaccinated must get a negative COVID-19 test (either a Rapid Antigen Test or PCR) no later than five days before their arrival date.
Unvaccinated tourists aged 12 and up entering The Bahamas must have a COVID-19 PCR swab test that is negative no more than five days before their arrival date. A quick Antigen test is also acceptable for children aged 2 to 11. Infants under the age of two are not required to be tested.
When applying for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa, the results of the tests must be posted to the government website; vaccinated passengers must also attach their immunization cards.
Also see: Travel Tips for Nassau, Bahamas – What You Need to Know
Currently, the Bahamas government will only accept vaccines manufactured by Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, and AstraZeneca, or combinations of these companies. Guests must also enroll in the Bahamas Travel Health Visa COVID-19 health insurance plan, which will cover them for the length of their stay in The Bahamas. The cost of insurance is included in the application price for a Bahamas Travel Health Visa. Only Crystal Cruises offers cruises from The Bahamas at this time.
The “bahamas cruising” is a cruise destination that has recently extended its vaccination mandate for visitors. This mandate includes some of the most common vaccines and is implemented to help protect visitors from potential outbreaks of diseases such as measles and mumps.
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