Barbados Streamlines Protocols for Cruise Ships

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Where some Caribbean destinations are closing down borders and denying entry to cruise ships, Barbados is taking a different route altogether. Although the island nation is streamlining the protocols it had already implemented, it is gearing towards a common-sense solution to the rising cases of Omicron worldwide and on cruise ships.

The Barbados Ministry of Tourism updated a 20-page booklet that details each measure taken to protect those embarking cruise liners, those visiting the island on a cruise, and the local population. The new protocols will be in place from January 7, 2022.

Barbados Makes Things Easier for Cruisers

Barbados has always been a popular port of call for many cruise ships and an important embarkation point for cruises to begin from. With 858,828 tourists either embarking on a cruise or visiting the beautiful island on a cruise, it is no wonder the local authorities are looking at a common-sense method of continuing to allow cruise ships in while trying to protect locals.

Cruise Ships in Bridgetown, Barbados
Photo Credit: Holger Wulschlaeger / Shutterstock

The country’s Chief Medical Officer, Dr. Kenneth George, said the following: “Banning the movement of people is a method for only delaying possible transmission. It is not an absolute and good public health measure. We will continuously examine the evidence and will come to the public to update them.

We are on a heightened state of alert with respect to our borders. I am very aware that some countries in the region may have gone extra miles but that depends on the peculiarities in their population but the public health team [here] will continue to give sound advice to policymakers with respect to our directions in a state of Omicron.”

Guests who visit Barbados as a port of call will need to adhere to some updated policies. First of all, anyone wishing to visit the island and explore on their own will need to have a negative antigen test taken within three days before arriving in Barbados and be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.

Fully vaccinated guests who have gotten their test at their respective homeport, within three days of cruise’ departure, will be allowed to disembark with restrictions. These guests can only participate in so-called ‘bubble tours.’ these are tours from tour operators through the cruise lines or tours approved for sale by independent tour operators and taxi operators and authorized by the Government of Barbados.

Transit Calls and Shore Excursions

Travelers arriving on transit calls must have embarked at the respective homeport with a valid negative Standard, Rapid PCR or Antigen test taken within 3 days. Guests will only be permitted to disembark and take “bubble excursions” as defined below:

  1. Tours approved for sale by tour operators as authorized by cruise lines.
  2. Tours approved for sale by independent tour operators and taxi operators as authorized by the Government of Barbados following the appropriate health and security requirements.

Guests using option 2 must take approved taxis dispatched from secure designated taxi facilities within the Bridgetown Port or must have a pre-booked tour confirmed by email from an approved tour operator for pick up in the Bridgetown Port.

Fully vaccinated guests arriving into Barbados with a negative Antigen test taken within 3 days of arrival will be permitted free shore leave.

Embarking and Debarking A Cruise-In Barbados

The Barbados Ministry of Health and Wellness requires each cruise line to conduct health assessments of travelers prior to embarkation, which includes questions to identify symptoms that indicate a traveler’s health status. 

Also Read: 18 IDEAL Things to Do in Barbados in 2022

For embarking the vessel, guests who arrive on the island to directly embark a cruise ship will Guests disembarking and staying on-island for a post-cruise stay will be required to present a negative standard or rapid PCR before unrestricted access to the destination is permitted.

Post-cruise guests may be swabbed onboard their cruise ship or at the Bridgetown Port and may then proceed to their accommodations to await test results. If available, guests may proceed directly to their accommodations to be tested there and await the results.

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