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2 cruise lines cancel Bermuda calls over continued COVID-19 testing requirements

Sept. 14, 2022
4 min read
2 cruise lines cancel Bermuda calls over continued COVID-19 testing requirements
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Two of the world's biggest cruise lines have canceled upcoming calls in Bermuda, citing the island's ongoing COVID-19 testing requirements.

Celebrity Cruises has canceled visits to Bermuda in October and November scheduled for four ships: Celebrity Beyond, Celebrity Silhouette, Celebrity Edge and Celebrity Reflection. The vessels had been set to visit the island on Oct. 22, Oct. 30-31, Nov. 4 and Nov. 10, respectively.

Norwegian Cruise Line has canceled Bermuda calls scheduled for three ships: Norwegian Sun, Norwegian Escape and Norwegian Gem. The vessels had been set to visit the island on Nov. 5, Nov. 15 and Dec. 20, respectively.

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All seven of the visits were scheduled to take place during long transatlantic voyages that begin in Europe and end in North America.

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Unlike most cruise destinations around the world, Bermuda continues to require passengers on such long voyages to submit to supervised onboard COVID-19 testing as their vessels approach the island.

Specifically, Bermuda requires onboard COVID-19 testing for all passengers on any ship that takes longer than four days to arrive at the island from its origination port. The tests must take place within two days of the ship's arrival in Bermuda.

Passengers on such ships also must fill out an online form and pay a $40 per person fee to the Bermuda government.

Many cruise destinations around the world have dropped such requirements in recent months as the severity of the COVID-19 pandemic has waned. Bermuda's continuation of such requirements has led to complaints from cruisers scheduled to be on longer voyages that include a stop at the island this fall, cruise lines say.

“Our transatlantic sailing guests indicated a strong preference for avoiding mid-cruise testing and related expenses," Celebrity said in a statement sent to TPG. "We will continue to visit Bermuda with other itineraries where the island is the first port of call and doesn’t trigger the additional testing requirement.”

Bermuda does not require most passengers to undergo a mid-cruise COVID-19 test when visiting the island on ships that arrive within four days of leaving their origination port. Most roundtrip cruises to Bermuda from New York and other East Coast ports fall into that category.

Related: The ultimate guide to picking a cruise line

Vaccinated passengers and unvaccinated children under the age of 12 traveling with vaccinated parents on such shorter cruises to Bermuda must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken before departure but don't have to undergo a mid-cruise test.

Unvaccinated passengers can sail on such shorter cruisers to Bermuda but must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken within two days of arriving at the island in order to get off the ship.

"We always strive to deliver an exceptional experience both onboard and onshore," Norwegian said in a statement to TPG explaining its Bermuda call cancellations. "Given the complexity of travel requirements in some destinations such as Bermuda, we have modified a few itineraries to ensure a more seamless voyage for our guests."

In the statement, Norwegian said that "despite these changes, we remain fully committed to Bermuda. In fact, we continue to offer voyages during which Bermuda is the one and only port of call. We appreciate the understanding and support of our guests."

Other cruise ships scheduled to visit Bermuda in the coming months as part of long transatlantic voyages include Oceania Cruises' Sirena; Viking's Viking Sun; and Azamara's Azamara Onward.

As of now, Bermuda calls for the latter ships are still scheduled to take place.

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Featured image by ©2018 Michel Verdure
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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