Just weeks before the 2022-2023 winter Caribbean cruise season begins, the government of St. Vincent and the Grenadines has dropped all COVID-19 travel restrictions for cruise passengers.
This is welcome news not only for major cruise lines, but for many smaller luxury lines that visit these beautiful islands.
All Travel Restrictions End
According to the country’s tourism minister, Carlos James, the decision to relax health protocols for arriving cruise passengers is due to ongoing low global infection rates and low COVID-19 related admissions to the island’s health facilities.
The restrictions were actually lifted on September 18, 2022, but the official announcement was made at the 28th Florida Caribbean Cruise Association (FCCA) Conference in the Dominican Republic this week, where cruise industry executives, government officials and other tourism stakeholders met to discuss development and cruise operations in the region.
This now means that cruise travelers to St. Vincent and the Grenadines no longer need to provide proof of vaccination, take pre-cruise COVID-19 tests, or have a quarantine plan in place.
It is due to the health and safety protocols, however, that have permitted the small nation to safely come through the pandemic and other challenges, including the eruption of the La Soufriere volcano in April 2021.
“In spite of the many challenges encountered in the last two cruise seasons, from a global health pandemic to the eruption of our country’s La Soufriere volcano, your strategic partnership allowed us to navigate those turbulent times,” said James, commenting to attendees at the conference.
St. Vincent and the Grenadines has a population of just over 100,000 residents. Through the entire pandemic, the country has recorded over 9,400 COVID-19 cases, with 116 deaths attributed to the disease, according to the government’s health tracking data.
Other Caribbean Nations Drop Restrictions
The decision by St. Vincent and the Grenadines follows several other Caribbean nations similarly dropping all travel restrictions in recent weeks.
Starting October 25, Bermuda will drop all travel requirements, though the country is keeping its controversial $40 entry authorization fee for the time being.
Barbados dropped all restrictions in late September, while The Bahamas eased travel protocols in late August. Other Caribbean nations, including St. Kitts and the Cayman Islands, similarly relaxed protocols weeks ago.
Cruise travelers should note, however, that individual cruise lines can still maintain stricter health and safety protocols, and all passengers must abide by established requirements before setting sail.
Guests booked on upcoming cruises should stay in close contact with their cruise line for any changes in pre-cruise requirements, which could change on short notice.
All Cruise Ships Welcome Again
The upcoming Caribbean cruise season – traditionally November through April when regional cruise visits are at their highest due to pleasant weather and the urge for tropical getaways from northern winter conditions – will be the first time in two years unvaccinated guests have been welcomed to St. Vincent and the Grenadines.
The country is located in the southeastern Caribbean, part of the Lesser Antilles, and is a popular destination for more exotic or far-reaching Eastern Caribbean or Southern Caribbean cruise itineraries.
The most popular port of call in St. Vincent and the Grenadines is Kingstown, the country’s capital and largest city.
In the coming months, Kingstown is scheduled to have visits from multiple cruise lines, including P&O Cruises, AIDA Cruises, TUI Cruises, Oceania Cruises, Royal Caribbean International, Costa Cruises, MSC Cruises, Silversea, Regent Seven Seas Cruises, and more.
Many smaller luxury cruise lines also visit the country, and other, more intimate ports of call in St. Vincent and the Grenadines will welcome ships from Seabourn, Windstar Cruises, Ponant Cruises, Star Clippers, and other exclusive lines.