Disney Cruise Line Will Require Proof of Vaccination to Sail to the Bahamas
Disney Cruise Line will begin mandating proof of vaccination for cruises to the Bahamas next month, the first time the company will require the jab for cruises in the United States.
Starting Sept. 3, Disney will require all passengers 12 and older to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days before boarding any cruise headed to the Bahamas, including to the company's private island, Castaway Cay, according to the company.
The new guidelines will be in place through at least Nov. 1.
Children under 12 are exempt and will be allowed to board with proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken between five days and 24 hours before their departure as well as a second PCR test taken at the terminal before boarding.
The updated protocols come after the Bahamas implemented a vaccine policy requiring all cruise passengers 12 and older to show proof they are fully vaccinated in order for a ship to dock, including on a cruise line's private island. The order does not apply to crew, children under 12, or anyone who is ineligible for the COVID-19 vaccine due to a medical reason.
This is the first time Disney has required proof of vaccination for a U.S.-based cruise. Previously, the company allowed unvaccinated guests to board, but said any guest who provided proof of vaccination would be exempt from pre-departure testing or insurance requirements. The company did require proof of vaccination for its planned sailings from the United Kingdom for passengers 18 and older.
Disney resumed sailing from Port Canaveral, Fla., earlier this month, offering 3- and 4-night journeys to its private island in the Bahamas.
The company isn't alone in updating its vaccination policy for cruises to the Bahamas. Carnival Cruise Line strengthened its vaccination protocols and will require unvaccinated guests sailing on a Florida, Texas, Louisiana, Alabama, or Maryland-based ship to provide a doctor's note ahead of embarking on a cruise.
And Royal Caribbean and MSC Cruises plan to require the vaccine for guests 12 and older headed to the Bahamas. Previously, Royal Caribbean required all guests 12 and older to show proof of vaccination before boarding nearly all cruises except those leaving out of Florida, and MSC did not require passengers leaving from the U.S. to show they were vaccinated.
Cruise lines are able to require proof of vaccination on ships leaving from Florida after a federal judge overturned the state's ban on vaccine passports earlier this month following a lawsuit from Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings.
Alison Fox is a contributing writer for Travel + Leisure. When she's not in New York City, she likes to spend her time at the beach or exploring new destinations and hopes to visit every country in the world. Follow her adventures on Instagram.