THE BAHAMAS — Cruise ships heading to the Bahamas won’t be allowed into the island nation’s ports, including private islands, if there are any unvaccinated passengers on board, except those 12 and younger or those with a medical excuse.
The Bahamian Government made the move in an emergency order posted late Thursday. The government said the rule will take effect September 3 and extend through November 1. The rule will also be applicable to several private islands owned by major cruise lines like Royal Caribbean.
According to the rule, if a ship wants to dock in The Bahamas, the captain must send a crew and passenger manifest that discloses the vaccine status of everyone on board to the Port Medical Officer before the ship arrives. All passengers who are 12 and older must be fully vaccinated before they are allowed. There are exceptions to the rule:
Read the new rule here:
The rule did leave exceptions that included when “the crew, contractors and any non-revenue passenger of that cruise ship and whatever protocols that were previously agreed to between the Government of the Bahamas and each cruise line in relation to its crew, contractors, and non-revenue passenger shall remain in effect.” The rule also exempted emergency situations and if an unvaccinated passenger is ineligible for the vaccine due to medical reasons.
The move by The Bahamian Government comes as Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has spent months fighting to keep his ban on any business requiring what his office termed a “vaccine passport.” DeSantis has sought to ban them from any business in the state, especially cruise lines. Cruise lines have pushed back and the issue remains in the courts.
Royal Caribbean Cruise Line will require proof of vaccines for all cruises leaving Florida as of September 1.