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Disney Cruises to require all eligible passengers to be fully vaccinated for trips to the Bahamas

Virus Outbreak Florida Disney Cruise
Posted at 1:09 PM, Aug 24, 2021
and last updated 2021-08-25 08:57:02-04

(WTXL) — Starting in September, Disney Cruise Line will require all passengers to be fully vaccinated for sailings to the Bahamas.

Disney made the announcement on Tuesday. The company said the change is "in order for a ship to be allowed entry into any of its cruise ports, including private islands like Disney Castaway Cay."

The change comes after an emergency order signed on August 19 that said cruise ships can't dock in the Bahamas unless all passengers 12 and older supply proof that they're fully vaccinated. The order is in effect from September 3 through November 1.

The U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) considers people to be fully vaccinated 14 days after the final dose has been administered.

Starting September 3, guests must provide proof of vaccination by uploading their vaccine card to the Safe Passenger by Inspire website no later than 24 hours before sailing. Guests who choose not to provide proof of vaccination will not be permitted to board.

Disney said guests under 12 must still provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken between five days and 24 hours prior to the sail date. They will also be required to undergo a second PCR COVID-19 test administered by Inspire Diagnostics at the terminal prior to boarding.

Guests on a sailing to The Bahamas (including Disney Castaway Cay) departing from September 3, 2021 to prior to November 1, 2021 may modify their sail date or cancel their sailing without any Disney-imposed cancellation fees by contacting our reservations team at (866) 325-6685 or (407) 566-7797 by September 3, 2021. Guests and travel agents will receive an email from Disney Cruise Line outlining additional details and next steps.

Click here for more information from Disney Cruise Line.

Royal Caribbean made a similar announcement saying guests 12 and older are required to present proof of vaccination for all cruises departing from Florida on or after September 1.

Beginning September 1, 2021, all Royal Caribbean guests age 12 and older are required to present proof of COVID-19 vaccination with the final dose of their vaccine administered at least 14 days before sailing. This requirement will remain in effect until further notice.

All crew onboard our ships will be fully vaccinated.

Read Detailed Vaccine FAQs

Carnival Cruise Lines also implemented requirements that say guests 12 and older must be vaccinated unless they have a medical condition that doesn't allow it.

Requirements for cruise ships to enter ports outside the U.S. continue to evolve and Carnival Cruise Line must operate in full compliance with these regulations. Most recently, the Government of The Bahamas has announced that effective September 3, cruise lines calling on any Bahamian port must be able to confirm that all guests 12 and older are fully vaccinated, with exemptions only for those with a medical condition that prohibit vaccination. Other destinations in the Caribbean normally included in our itineraries have implemented similar limitations. Given the number of itineraries that include multiple destinations throughout the Caribbean and, in particular, in The Bahamas, and the need for us from time to time to adjust itineraries due to medical, technical or weather emergencies, we will now operate all sailings under this requirement.


Consequently, effective with embarkations on or after August 28 from all U.S. Atlantic and Gulf home ports, vaccine exemptions will be limited to children under 12, and those with a medical condition that does not allow them to be vaccinated. The guest’s birth certificate or passport (for children), or a letter from a medical provider stating that the individual cannot be vaccinated for medical reasons, must be presented at check-in, along with the exemption approval letter from Carnival. Unfortunately, all other vaccine exemptions previously granted for upcoming sailings cannot be fulfilled due to these new limitations. If you have already received an exemption approval for anyone in your party that does not meet the requirements of these two categories (under 12 or proven medical condition that prohibits vaccination), that exemption is no longer valid. If you would like to rebook for a later date or request a refund, please contact us at 1-800-CARNIVAL, your Carnival Personal Vacation Planner, or your travel agent.


Vaccine exemptions for ships departing from Long Beach, California will continue to be accepted for children under 12 and as required by U.S. federal law.


Exemptions for children and adults are not guaranteed and are capacity-controlled based on the total number of vaccinated guests projected to be on board. Unvaccinated guests granted an exemption must abide by certain requirements and protocols, which include:

Click here for more information from Carnival Cruise Line.

Gov. Ron DeSantis' Press Secretary Christina Pushaw sent this statement when ABC Action News reached out for comment.

As you may be aware, a federal court recently enjoined (blocked) the enforcement of Section 381.00316, Florida Statutes, against Norwegian Cruise Line on both First Amendment and Dormant Commerce Clause grounds. See Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings, Ltd. v. Rivkees, No. 21-22492 (S.D. Fla.).

Although the Florida Department of Health has appealed the injunction order with respect to Norwegian Cruise Line, the Department recognizes that similar arguments could be advanced by other cruise lines during the pendency of the appeal. The Department of Health disagrees with the Southern District’s legal analysis, but the Department will abstain from enforcement action until a legal ruling is issued by the Eleventh Circuit Court of Appeals. We believe the ruling will be overturned upon appeal, and we are confident in the legal basis for Florida’s vaccine passport ban.

This is distinct from the Bahamas issue – it’s only a matter of monitoring the pending legal matter.

Johns Hopkins Center for Systems Science and Engineering