Carnival Cruise Line has updated its pre-cruise testing protocols, specifically as they relate to sailings to The Bahamas.
This had caused some confusion in recent days, as other cruise lines have not required testing on shorter cruises with Bahamian ports of call, but Carnival still mandated tests for all passengers, regardless of vaccination status or cruise length, if visiting The Bahamas.
No Testing Required for Some Passengers
In an update to his Facebook page, Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador John Heald has shared a letter from Christine Duffy, president of the line. The letter has also been sent to booked Carnival guests and shared with travel partners.
“We are pleased to share that our COVID protocols continue to evolve,” Duffy said. “Effective August 8, 2022, guests should be guided by the following COVID-19 testing requirements related to cruises visiting The Bahamas.”
On cruises 5 nights or less, vaccinated passengers do not need to present a pre-cruise COVID-19 test result of any kind. This is a change from the clarification Carnival Cruise Line provided just three days ago.
Unvaccinated passengers, however, must still show a negative test result to be permitted to sail, even on shorter sailings. This may be either a supervised PCR or antigen test, and it may be taken up to three days before embarkation.
All guests age 2 and older – regardless of vaccination status – must present a negative test result for any Carnival cruise, to The Bahamas or any other destination, if the sailing is 6 nights or longer.
As with all of Carnival’s health and safety protocols, these requirements can and likely will continue to evolve, and the cruise line remains in contact with its destination ports to ensure compliance with all local protocols.
“We remain, as always, committed to the health and safety of our guests, crew and the communities we serve,” the message concludes.
This clarification is a welcome notice for guests booked on upcoming short sailings to The Bahamas.
Previously, Carnival Cruise Line did require testing for all passengers visiting the popular island nation, despite The Bahamas having no mandate for travelers to present negative test results upon entering the country. That requirement was ended in The Bahamas on June 19, 2022.
As other cruise lines have ended their own testing mandates for shorter sailings, no other cruise line has continued to require testing for sailings to The Bahamas, in line with the nation’s own health and safety protocols.
The Bahamas is a very popular Caribbean destination for shorter cruises from multiple Florida homeports, with ports of call in Nassau, Freeport, and Bimini. Several cruise lines also have leased Bahamian islands for their own private resorts, including Royal Caribbean International’s Perfect Day at CocoCay, Disney Cruise Line’s Castaway Cay, and Norwegian Cruise Line’s Great Stirrup Cay.
Private islands were never exempt from The Bahamas protocols, but as of June 19, there has been no testing mandate to visit these tropical destinations.
It must be noted, however, that the Travel Requirements webpage for The Bahamas, does state, very clearly, “These protocols are subject to change at any time in response to new COVID-19 measures.”
Should the island nation choose to reinstate testing requirements for visitors, cruise lines will also have to modify their protocols to be able to continue visiting Bahamian ports of call.
As this situation remains ever fluid, cruise passengers should stay in close contact with their cruise line about all updated protocols and requirements for upcoming sailings.