DCL-Disney Cruise Line requires passengers sailing to Bahamas get COVID vaccine

   August 26, 2021 ,   Cruise Industry

DCL-Disney Cruise Line will start requiring proof of COVID-19 vaccination for passengers from the USA boarding ships to The Bahamas in September, the first time DCL has issued such a mandate for liners sailing from domestic ports.

The USA has seen a flood of vaccine mandates in recent days after FDA (Food and Drug Administration) gave its full approval to the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine. The agency's final clearance came on Monday, August 23, amid a surge of new COVID cases and hospitalizations spurred by the contagious Delta variant.

Starting September 3, 2021, passengers 12+ must be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding any cruise ship heading to the Bahamas, Disney Cruises announced. That includes Castaway Cay (DCL's private island). The new rule is in place until November 2021.

Kids younger than 12 are exempt but will have to bring along proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken between 5 days and 24 hours before boarding, as well as a 2nd test at the terminal.

The new rules came after the Bahamas issued an emergency order earlier in August saying it would require all passengers 12+ to show proof of vaccination. 

RCI-Royal Caribbean updated its COVID policy, requiring passengers 12+ to be fully vaccinated for voyages departing from any port in the USA, with the mandate taking effect September 3, 2021, for sailings leaving Florida for the Bahamas. 

MSC is implementing a similar policy beginning September 3. 

CCL-Carnival Cruise Line made a similar move, announcing it would require that all guests 12+ be inoculated, expanding a prior policy that required at least 95% of all crew and passengers be vaccinated. CCL's updated policy takes effect on August 28.

After a federal judge's approval of a challenge by NCL-Norwegian Cruise Line of an executive order by Governor Ron DeSantis banning vaccine mandates, cruise lines have more leeway to require proof of vaccination from vacationers leaving from Florida. The governor is appealing the decision to the 11th US Circuit Court. And, for now, NCL is requiring all passengers to be fully vaccinated.