The country, in an emergency order, stated that no cruise ships will be permitted to dock at ports in the Bahamas with unvaccinated passengers aged 12 and older without medical excuses.
The order – published on the Bahamas Customs & Excise Department official website – had been signed by Hubert Minnis, the Bahamian Prime Minister. The mandate takes effect from 3rd September 2021 and will be valid until 1 November 2021.
The new mandate is also applicable to private islands like the Royal Caribbean’s private island Perfect Day at CocoCay. To dock, a cruise ship captain must transmit a “crew and passenger manifest” that highlights every guest’s status of vaccination to the Port Medical Officer before arrival.
All guests aged 12 and older need to be fully vaccinated. Additionally, the health protocols on board must be approved by the “Competent Authority” and also complied with. There are only a few exceptions to these new regulations.
For instance, the rule does not apply to the crew, contractors, and “non-revenue passenger” per the guidelines previously agreed by the cruise lines and the government.
The rule is also moot when a ship is trying to enter a port in an emergency or when passengers have medical reasons as to why they are still not vaccinated.
Passengers who enter The Bahamas on a cruise ship are subject to testing requirements made compulsory by the cruise line.
On Thursday, the Royal Caribbean announced that its vaccine policy for ships that sail from Florida to the Bahamas, including Private Island, Perfect Day at CocoCay, will change to comply with emergency orders. The cruise line already requires proof of vaccination from guests who are 12 and older sailing from the US ports.