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

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 a Bermuda call scheduled for Nov. 5 by Norwegian Sun.

All five 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.

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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.

Other cruise ships scheduled to visit Bermuda in the coming months as part of long transatlantic voyages include Oceania Cruises‘ Sirena; Norwegian’s Norwegian Escape, Norwegian Epic and Norwegian Gem; Viking‘s Viking Sun; and Azamara‘s Azamara Onward.

A spokesperson for Norwegian confirmed that Norwegian Sun’s Nov. 5 call in Bermuda had been canceled and, at the time of this posting, was looking into whether the Bermuda calls of the three other Norwegian ships on transatlantic voyages this fall would be canceled, too.

As of now, the Bermuda calls for the Oceania, Viking and Azamara ships sailing transatlantic voyages this fall are still scheduled to take place.

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Featured image courtesy of Celebrity Cruises.