NCL and Celebrity Cruises pull Bermuda stops over Covid testing requirements

Sep 14, 2022

Two cruise lines have canceled a series of calls to Bermuda during October and November due to the island's Covid-19 testing requirements. Celebrity Cruises and Norwegian Cruise Line pulled five stops – four Celebrity and one NCL. Three other scheduled calls to Bermuda were said to have been unofficially canceled by other cruise lines

After inquiries were made to the transport and health ministries about the cancellations, a government spokeswoman responded that questions should be directed to the shipping agency that handles cruise calls.

The official notice of the cancellation, confirmed by an industry source familiar with the procedure, said that due to "the current requirements for testing Bermuda, the cruise lines have decided to cancel the upcoming (transatlantic/repositioning) calls to Bermuda."

The source said the ship's routes contravene Bermuda's Covid-19 protocols for cruise ships, which have come under fire.

"This means that cruise ships crossing the Atlantic have to pass a second test during the journey to come to Bermuda. They don't want to do it." Because of this, the cruise lines have clashed with the Ministry of Health all year.

The island travel authorization form, which is expected to remain in effect until spring, comes with a $40 fee.

Companies such as Celebrity Cruises eased restrictions on travelers by 50 percent at the start of the summer as the U.S. Centers eased restrictions for disease control and prevention.

According to the current cruise schedule, beyond has a maximum passenger capacity of 3,937; silhouette 2,768; Edge 2,918 and Reflection 3,046 and Norwegian Sun capacity of 1,936 passengers.

Cruises have rebounded this year following the pandemic, but despite growing numbers of visitors at sea, the industry has taken the island's Covid-19 restrictions poorly.

Competing jurisdictions such as the Bahamas have lifted restrictions, prompting mounting criticism from opposition to Bermuda's virus protocols.

Although restrictions were eased significantly last month, unvaccinated visitors must be tested within two days of disembarking.

The requirement means a test for cruise passengers who have not received a sting to disembark in Bermuda. The cancellations, with others tipped to follow, hit Bermuda during the so-called shoulder season in which the Bermuda Tourism Authority tries to attract visitors, particularly from the US East Coast.