MSC Seashore was refused entry to Ocean Cay, the private island of MSC in the Bahamas for his appeal on December 29. During its 5-night trip from Miami, several crew members and a handful of guests were identified as positive for COVID-19.
In a letter from Captain Galano, guests were told that the Bahamian government forced the ship to cancel its call at the Ocean Cay Marine Reserve. The Bahamian government’s appeal could cause additional complications for cruise lines, which have to contend with several ports of call that have denied entry to cruise ships in recent weeks.
MSC forced to cancel MSC Ocean Cay marine reserve
Ocean Cay is the private island resort destination for MSC Cruises. The resort island is located 20 miles south of Bimini and just 65 miles east of Miami. MSC Seashore was heading to the island for the last stop on a 5 night cruise from Miami and the second stop to the island on this trip.
Unfortunately for guests on board, the Bahamian government has refused entry to the ship based on several confirmed cases among the crew and a handful of passengers.
In a letter to the guests, the ship’s captain wrote: “During routine surveillance as part of our industry-leading health and safety protocol, we recently identified a limited number of cases on board among the crew as well as a handful of guests. , who have tested positive for COVID-19. In accordance with our protocol, we immediately isolated individuals and their close contacts in the dedicated section of the ship and separate from where you conduct all of your activities.
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Although cases on board are not new and cases have occurred on ships since the resumption of navigation in the United States in June 2021, ports of call have recently started to deny entry to several vessels. . MSC Seashore Already visited Ocean Cay and Nassau in the Bahamas on the same trip, so a cancellation from the same port of call that the ship called a few days earlier will have come as a surprise to many.
Captain Galano announced the decision of the Government of the Bahamas in the same letter to the guests on board: “As you know, in terms of their response to the increasing number of positive COVID-19 cases currently observed around the world, the Caribbean Islands are continuously and independently evaluating their own specific policies and procedures in this regard. which concerns people entering their territory. “
“Unfortunately, and unlike most stopovers, the Bahamian government decided to force us to cancel our stopover at Ocean Cay MSC Marine Reserve today out of prudence. Due to the short notice we will replace it with an extra day at sea. I apologize for any inconvenience this may cause you and thank you for your understanding.
MSC Seashore returns to Miami on December 30; from there it will depart on a 9-day trip to Ocho Rios, Cozumel, Costa Maya and MSC Ocean Cay, and Nassau in the Bahamas.
Bahamian government move could be embarrassing for cruise lines
Several cruise lines have been entry refused to Caribbean ports recently, including Odyssey of the seas, Symphony of the Seas, Carnival Liberty, and many others. However, this is the first time that a ship has been denied entry to the Bahamas.
More worrying is that MSC Seashore was refused entry to his private resort on Ocean Cay. Almost all cruise lines have private resorts in the Bahamas. Royal a Perfect day at CocoCay, Carnival Corporation a Half Moon Cay and Princess Cays, and Norwegian a Great Stirrup Cay. Until now, it was assumed that these private island destinations would remain accessible.
Not having the private islands as a fallback option will leave cruise lines with few options for stopovers. That could mean many more days at sea, as more destinations explore their options to keep Omicron away for as long as possible.
So far, only the Mexican government has made it clear that cruise ships would be welcome no matter what. On the other hand, other destinations such as Puerto Rico have strict pre-entry testing requirements in place.
Cruise lines have done everything possible to provide safe and enjoyable sailing for their guests. With widespread testing and vaccination warrants for all guests and strict health and safety measures on board, a cruise is still the safest option, with workloads far lower than those found anywhere. down. Hopefully destinations exploring the options will realize this as soon as possible and that cruises will continue to be welcome.