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Bahamas requires cruisers 12 and older to be vaccinated

MSC Meraviglia at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve. MSC Cruises will be mandating vaccination for those 12 and up on cruises from Miami and Port Canaveral to comply with the new Bahamas policty
All cruise passengers 12 and older will have to be vaccinated for COVID-19 for ships to call in the Bahamas, including private islands.

The new policy takes effect Sept. 3 by way of an emergency powers order issued by Bahamas Prime Minister Hubert Minnis on Thursday.

Besides exempting children, the order exempts crew, contractors and other non-revenue passengers and any passengers ineligible for the vaccine due to medical contraindications.

The Bahamas are a leading destination for cruise lines sailing from Florida homeports. Besides Nassau, Freeport, Bimini and other ports are private islands like Royal Caribbean's Perfect Day at CocoCay, Carnival Corp.'s Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays, Disney's Castatway Cay, MSC Cruises' Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve and Norwegian Cruise Line's Great Stirrup Cay,

MSC Cruises and Royal Caribbean update their policies accordingly

MSC Cruises said it would be requiring passengers 12 and older to be fully vaccinated on cruises from Port Canaveral and PortMiami starting Sept. 3, as did Royal Caribbean International for September cruises from Florida. 

NCL already mandates 100% vaccination.

Carnival Cruise Line did not respond to questions about the new policy on Thursday and Carnival's site, along with Disney's and Crystal Cruises', had not been updated.

Crystal has a vaccination mandate for passengers that embark on its Bahamas cruises from Nassau and Bimini but not for those who embark at Miami.

The emergency order applies until Nov. 1.

The Bahamas government said the vaccination mandate doesn't preclude additional COVID-19 testing that may be required.