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2 more major cruise lines will require proof of vaccination for Florida sailings

Aug. 24, 2021
4 min read
2 more major cruise lines will require proof of vaccination for Florida sailings
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Due to new Bahamas requirements, most passengers booked on Carnival Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line ships will now have to show proof of vaccination in order to board.

Effective Sept. 3 - Nov. 1, 2021, the Bahamas -- one of the most frequented destinations on warm-weather cruise itineraries -- will require cruise lines to show that all eligible passengers are vaccinated before they are allowed to disembark in the country.

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(Photo by Zach Honig/The Points Guy)

That means anyone 12 or older who isn't exempt for medical reasons must be inoculated and provide documentation before being allowed to sail.

"Effective Aug. 28 through October, for departures from all Atlantic and Gulf homeports, only children under 12 and adults with a medical condition that prohibits their vaccination are exempt from vaccination requirements to sail," Carnival says in a statement on its website.

Notable is the fact that the statement mentions only Atlantic (East Coast) and Gulf homeports. The cruise line's COVID-19 terms and conditions state the following about cruisers departing from the West Coast: "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 onboard."

(Photo by Ben Hasty/MediaNews Group/Reading Eagle via Getty Images)

That means, technically, there could be unvaccinated people sailing from the West Coast who are not younger than 12 and who don't have medical conditions, as long as at least 95% of guests onboard are vaccinated. (Ships must sail at least 95% vaccinated in order to comply with U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recommendations.)

Meanwhile, Disney Cruise Line's statement says, "For sailings to the Bahamas beginning September 3, 2021, until November 1, 2021 ... all guests ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated to board the ship... Guests who choose not to provide proof of vaccination to meet the requirements of the Bahamas will not be permitted to board the ship."

Most cruises that visit ports in the Bahamas -- including cruise line private islands, such as Carnival's Half Moon Cay and Disney's Castaway Cay -- depart from Florida, where Governor Ron DeSantis signed an executive order making it illegal for businesses there to require customers to be vaccinated. Earlier this month, a Florida judge issued a preliminary injunction in a lawsuit filed by Norwegian Cruise Line, allowing NCL to make proof of vaccination mandatory for passengers.

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Cruise port agents wait to check passenger vaccine cards at Port Miami. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)

In light of that ruling, the Bahamas' new protocols and the official approval of the Pfizer COVID-19 vaccine by the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA), Carnival and Disney have followed Norwegian's lead. Royal Caribbean also announced last week that it, too, will be requiring travelers to show their vaccine cards in order to embark on voyages from Florida.

In its latest round of recommendations, the CDC advises travelers to avoid cruise ships if they're unvaccinated or have underlying medical conditions. The agency has also recommended that Americans avoid travel to the Bahamas.

Featured image by A cruise port agent verifies proof of vaccination before boarding. (Photo by Ashley Kosciolek/The Points Guy)
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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TPG Editor‘s Rating
Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023