Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line yesterday said it has further postponed its operational restart until August 28 amid a surge in US COVID-19 infections.
The operator of the Grand Celebration and Grand Classica vessels, which sail to Freeport and Nassau respectively, also said its decision was influenced by The Bahamas’ requirement that all travellers obtain and provide a negative COVID-19 PCR swab test to be admitted to the country.
The move may be welcomed by many, especially in Freeport, which has seen an increase in COVID-19 cases in recent days. Several relate to persons with a “travel history”, and some sources, speaking on condition of anonymity, suggested they may have sailed to Florida via the Balearia ferry service.
Oneil Khosa, its chief executive, said in a statement: “Upon announcing that we would resume cruising in late July, we were thrilled to see a great deal of demand, demonstrating that there is a strong appetite amongst travellers for our unique short-cruise ‘microcation’ product.
“At this time, we remain the only cruise line in the country [US] to have received a ‘green status’ from the Centre for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) on our No Sail Response plan, meaning we have met all requirements in providing a safe environment for our crew members to work and disembark via non-commercial travel.”
He added: “Over the past few weeks, we’ve continued preparations to return to Grand Bahama while keeping an eye on the overall landscape, which continues to evolve. In recent days, amidst a spike in COVID-19 cases in many states across the country [US], we’ve seen mounting pressures to modify reopening plans and consideration of the return of stay-at-home orders.
“Additionally, new restrictions from The Bahamas have been announced, requiring travelers to present a negative swab test prior to entry. In an effort to provide the safest environment for our passengers and crew, we have no choice but to further postpone our sailing schedule.
“Our current plan is to resume cruises on August 28, 2020. This is incredibly disappointing to our entire team, but the decision was made after very careful consideration of all factors, and we believe this is in everyone’s best interest. We look forward to welcoming guests back onboard and appreciate everyone’s patience throughout this process.”