Good news for those planning to take a cruise from the Bahamas this summer as the Bahamas government made significant changes in its policies, fully taking into account vaccinations and eased travel restrictions.
Vaccinated Individuals Fully Exempted From Testing
Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis announced eased travel restrictions for those that have been fully vaccinated. The Bahamas government is eager to get the economy up and running sooner rather than later while also expanding the vaccination program across the archipelago.
Fully vaccinated individuals will be immediately exempted from RT-PCR testing traveling domestically after receiving the second dose of the COVID-19 vaccine; from May 1, the same will count for International travel. The only guideline is that all international tourists have passed the two-week immunity period after receiving the last dose of the vaccine.
The news from the government is excellent news for tourism and the cruise industry in particular. The Bahamas becomes one of the first countries which does not require a test before travel. The Prime Minister told individuals who have not been fully vaccinated they will still be required to obtain a negative RT-PCR test to enter The Bahamas.
CDC’s Updated Travel Advice
The question is now what the CDC will think of this update. The agency updated its travel advice to the Bahamas to the highest level only days ago, saying that Americans should avoid travel to the Bahamas at all costs. By removing the need for testing for vaccinated individuals, the Bahamas effectively aligns itself with the rules and regulations the CDC has implemented for US citizens in the US.
The hope is now that the CDC will change its mind regarding the Bahamas. The reason the agency changed the advice last week was the increased number of cases in the Islands.
However, as Prime Minister Dr. Hubert Minnis points out, many of the Islands in the Bahamas have not seen any cases in many months. The cases seem to be concentrated around a few of the main islands like Grand Bahama.
Bahamas in Demand for Cruisers
The cruise industry is planning a significant restart in the Caribbean, Mediterranean, Asia, and even Saudi Arabia. The Bahamas will also see the return of cruise ships to its shores.
With the proximity and relatively low-cost flights to the United States, the Bahamas has been a favorite for cruises in the past. This will be no different in the coming months. These are the cruise lines that have so far announced departures from the Bahamas:
Royal Caribbean Cruise Lines
Royal Caribbean is back with cruises in the Bahamas starting from June. Adventure of the Seas will be based out of Nassau in the Bahamas, offering 7-night cruises from June 5.
The cruises will include two back-to-back days at the cruise line’s private island of Perfect Day at CocoCay, a chance to explore Grand Bahama Island, and a visit to Cozumel, Mexico.
Crystal Cruises will start to homeport out of the Bahamas from July as the luxury cruise line launches cruises onboard Crystal Serenity out of Nassau and Bimini. The line has announced record bookings for the cruises and was the first to announce cruises from the Bahamas this year.
Other cruise lines like Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line have announced port calls in the Bahamas; however, these will not be homeporting in the islands. This might change now that the Bahamas has further relaxed its entry requirements for vaccinated individuals.