Cruise lines including Royal Caribbean International, Carnival Cruise Line and Disney Cruise Line are adjusting their vaccination policies to comply with an emergency order issued Thursday by the Bahamas.
The order states that cruise ships will not be allowed to enter ports in the Bahamas if there are unvaccinated passengers on board aged 12 and older without a medical excuse.
The order – posted to the Bahamas Customs & Excise Department website and signed by Bahamian Prime Minister Hubert Minnis – takes effect Sept. 3 and is valid through Nov. 1.
The new rule is applicable to private islands such as Royal Caribbean's private island Perfect Day at CocoCay and Disney's Castaway Cay, according to the order.
Royal Caribbean, Carnival, Disney cruise lines adjust vaccine policies
On Thursday, Royal Caribbean announced that it would change its vaccine policy for ships sailing from Florida to the Bahamas – including its private island, Perfect Day at CocoCay – to comply with the emergency order. The cruise line already requires proof of vaccination from passengers 12 and older sailing from other U.S. ports.
Sunday, Carnival Cruise Line announced changes to its policy, too.
"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 said in a release, noting that their ships are already sailing with at least 95% of crew and passengers fully vaccinated, in accordance with Centers for Disease Control and Prevention guidance.
Carnival passengers who had previously received an exemption outside those two categories have had those exemptions rescinded through October.
On Tuesday, Disney Cruise Line tightened its vaccine policy, too, for sailings between Sept. 3 and Nov. 1 given the emergency order.
"Guests must provide proof of vaccination by uploading their vaccination card to the Safe Passage by Inspire website no later than 24 hours before their sailing," Disney said, noting that passengers who do not provide proof of vaccination will not be allowed to board.
Passengers under the age of 12 must show proof of a negative PCR COVID-19 test taken between 5 days and 24 hours before boarding and are required to take a secondary PCR test at the terminal ahead of embarkation, according to Disney.
Ticket holders who wish to cancel or modify their sail date between Sept. 3 and Nov. 1 are able to do so without Disney-imposed cancellation fees, the cruise line said.
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How the emergency order will work in the Bahamas
In order to dock, a cruise ship's captain is required to transmit a "crew and passenger manifest" disclosing every person's vaccination status to the Port Medical Officer before arrival.
All passengers age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated at embarkation. Additionally, health protocol previously approved by the "Competent Authority" must be satisfied on board.
Exceptions to the new regulation
The rule does not apply to crew, contractors and any "non-revenue passenger" under the protocol previously agreed upon between the government and cruise lines. The rule is also moot when a cruise ship is attempting to enter port in an emergency and when a passenger has a medical reason for why they are unvaccinated.
Passengers entering the Bahamas on a cruise ship are also subject to testing requirements mandated by the cruise line and given approval by the "Competent Authority."
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Carnival, Disney adjust policies to meet Bahamas vaccine requirement