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Barbados summer cruises 2021


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Hi

Considering booking OB on 14 night Barbados cruise in July.

 

Has anyone already booked one of these cruises and already been allocated their cabin?

 

Do you imagine any upsell will be available?

 

Thanks in advance for any response.

 

 

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I don't want to hijack this thread, but while talking about Barbados cruises, can anyone recommend a hotel in Bridgetown? We're booking a short 7-day trip in late September and are considering flying in a day early rather than a long day of flights and stress about getting to the ship on embarkation day. 

 

To your question,@Jayjay900: we prefer to select our cabin (Deck 6 forward, but not right at the front), so I'm sorry I can't help with the OB question. It seems like Seabourn has recently dialed up the promotion and advertising for these cruises, so I imagine they're trying to sell as much as they can before they begin moving people around -- but that's just a guess. 

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Posted (edited)

Anyone who has booked or is in the process of booking a Barbados cruise: I'd love help in understanding the country's entry and departure requirements. (I can't find a page on the Seabourn website about this; am I missing something?) 

 

We were arranging to fly in a day before our cruise departs, but now I'm concerned that we'd have to quarantine at a hotel for 2 days, which certainly doesn't work. We'd like to spend a day seeing some of the island snd going out to dinner before our cruise; staying in our hotel room for a day awaiting results of a PCR test taken upon arrival would defeat the purpose of arriving early. Am I misreading the Barbados rules? (I'm asking our TA, but I'm sure they're having a heck of a time keeping up with travel rules around the globe; I was hoping someone else here has already been down this road and figured things out!) 

 

Also, at the end of the cruise, do we know if Seabourn is providing free antigen tests to passengers, which we'll all need to fly home? I know Silversea is doing this, but I haven't yet seen information about what Seabourn is doing.

 

And yes, I know all the rules and procedures may change five times over the next couple of months. 😉  But we need to book air now, and getting the rules wrong so we fly on the wrong day will put a damper on this vacation we're so eager to take. Thanks in advance!

Edited by cruiseej
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You really need to book two nights before the cruise as Barbados says although it expects test results to be back within 24 hours, this is  not guaranteed and advises a 2 night booking. 
 

Thus if only booked one night and they are delayed you won’t be going on the cruise.

 

You must stay in your resort until the negative test results are received. We have provisionally booked a one bed suite with our own 28’ pool so at least we can sunbathe/relax whilst waiting for test results.

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Although we booked the Odyssey (for October) we still have more questions then answers.  For example, how are these cruises going to work considering the current Barbados entry rules which require a negative PCR test (which does not include any rapid test) within 3 days of entry.  So if passengers meet that requirement before coming to Barbados what happens on the ship when they again return to Barbados (these complex PCR tests cannot be done onboard).  The Barbados government does not seem to have any cruise-related info on their web site.  And then there is the issue that disembarking passengers would again need to be tested before flying home (the test would vary depending on where they fly).  Is SB going to provide any testing aboard?  Is SB going to arrange for testing ashore (early on disembarkation day)?

 

One can certainly go on the Barbados site and read their detailed entry info which is very reliant on a negative PCR test (this is not a fast antigen or fast molecular test) which must be done within 3 days of one's flight.  It is also necessary to be fully vaccinated in order to avoid a long quarantine on Barbados.  But keep in mind these are requirements the government adopted in early May and they could certainly change over the next few weeks/months.  

 

Hank

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Posted (edited)

Jumping in from the Viking forum for Bermuda cruises.  Viking Orion is homeporting in Hamilton Bermuda. The first cruise will be June 15 all around the island. We also have  to have a PCR Covid test, not a rapid one,  within 4 days of arriving in Bermuda. We are tested again at airport. Must quarentine till results are provided within 24 hours. We are using Viking air and they will bring us to ship for the 24 hr quarantine. Thank God, Viking ship have their own  saliva testing lab on board for  returning test before we depart  to the US. 

This is the state of cruising this summer... we are the trailblazers.

Read the offical web site for the protocol not any TA or even the cruise web site.  It is changing weekly. 

 Happy sailings ....

Edited by Azulann
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3 hours ago, Jayjay900 said:

You really need to book two nights before the cruise as Barbados says although it expects test results to be back within 24 hours, this is  not guaranteed and advises a 2 night booking. 
 

Thus if only booked one night and they are delayed you won’t be going on the cruise.

 

My travel agent says Seabourn is telling them that thy have an agreement with the government to allow cruise guests to fly in the day or or the day before the cruise embarkation. Guests flying in a day before must go to a government-approved hotel (most of the on the island) and isolate there, according the the hotel's safety standards. I've seen some hotels say you can go to restaurants and the pool, but not the beach, for example. 

 

Of course, this information has not yet ben updated on the Barbados government site, nor does Quicken have a web page of Q&A/FAQs to explain all this. Sigh.

 

But my understanding as of now is that if we fly in a day before the cruise, take authorized transportation to an authorized hotel, remain at that hotel, and take authorized transportation to the port, we will be okay -- even if we never get the results of the PCR test from arrival.

 

If you think coming in two days in advance is better, I'd note that some people have reported it taking more than 2 days to get test results. And with Seabourn's cruises leaving on Sundays, who knows if the Barbados lab will be working at full capacity on weekends to complete and report on tests.

 

Of course, my hope is that Barbados will relax their entry requirements by later in the summer. For instance, might fully vaccinated pool with a PCR test before departure be cleared for arrival with out further testing? (That's apparently what Greece is doing.) Or could they switch to a rapid antigen test at the airport which would clear everyone upon arrival? Unfortunately, there's no way to predict the future intersection of the data, medical advice and politics to know what will change when.

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Posted (edited)
1 hour ago, Azulann said:

This is the state of cruising this summer... we are the trailblazers.

Read the offical web site for the protocol not any TA or even the cruise web site.  It is changing weekly. 

 

Agreed that things are rapidly changing, and will likely continue to do so.

 

I would love to go by the details spelled out on the cruise web site, @Azulann -- unfortunately, Seabourn appears to have nothing posted to its website about these important details! Ugh. I understand things are in flux, but they owe it to the passengers booked on, and aiming to book on, the cruises they are hyping to provide the best available guidance. 

Edited by cruiseej
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2 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Although we booked the Odyssey (for October) we still have more questions then answers.

 

We're at the end of September, but in the same boat (sorry!) as you are.

 

3 hours ago, Hlitner said:

For example, how are these cruises going to work considering the current Barbados entry rules which require a negative PCR test (which does not include any rapid test) within 3 days of entry.  So if passengers meet that requirement before coming to Barbados what happens on the ship when they again return to Barbados (these complex PCR tests cannot be done onboard).

 

The PCR test (non-rapid variety) has to be done at home before leaving. Of course, the 3-day window, with most of the non-rapid tests taking 2 days for results, make things incredibly stress-filled. How many people  will be stranded at home, ready to leave for the airport, without test results in hand?

 

Then there's the second PCR test upon arrival in Barbados. It's very unclear if there's capacity for everyone to get tested at the airport. Some luxury hotels apparently offer them on-site. I'm not not what other options are available, especially if arriving on a weekend.

 

In terms of the test to fly home, my understanding from my TA is that Seabourn is providing these, aboard the ship, for everyone who needs them. For US residents, a rapid antigen test is sufficient. If passengers from other countries need PCR tests, I'm not clear on whether they will have facilities to do those tests onboard, or arrangements to do them through a lab in one of the other countries on the trip. Or the ability to do the rapid PCR test at the cruise terminal. I know that Silversea has said they will offer free antigen tests onboard, and PCR tests upon request -- for a fee -- for those who may need them. It's annoying that Seabourn has no information publicly available about what they're offering. 

 

3 hours ago, Hlitner said:

The Barbados government does not seem to have any cruise-related info on their web site.

 

Supposedly it's all been agreed to with Seabourn, but neither party has posted information about the details. Supposedly "coming soon." Sigh.

 

And as you say, what we know today or tomorrow is almost certain to change -- multiple times -- before August or September or October. Which makes certain advance planning a tad difficult. 😉 

 

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43 minutes ago, cruiseej said:

 

We're at the end of September, but in the same boat (sorry!) as you are.

 

 

The PCR test (non-rapid variety) has to be done at home before leaving. Of course, the 3-day window, with most of the non-rapid tests taking 2 days for results, make things incredibly stress-filled. How many people  will be stranded at home, ready to leave for the airport, without test results in hand?

 

Then there's the second PCR test upon arrival in Barbados. It's very unclear if there's capacity for everyone to get tested at the airport. Some luxury hotels apparently offer them on-site. I'm not not what other options are available, especially if arriving on a weekend.

 

In terms of the test to fly home, my understanding from my TA is that Seabourn is providing these, aboard the ship, for everyone who needs them. For US residents, a rapid antigen test is sufficient. If passengers from other countries need PCR tests, I'm not clear on whether they will have facilities to do those tests onboard, or arrangements to do them through a lab in one of the other countries on the trip. Or the ability to do the rapid PCR test at the cruise terminal. I know that Silversea has said they will offer free antigen tests onboard, and PCR tests upon request -- for a fee -- for those who may need them. It's annoying that Seabourn has no information publicly available about what they're offering. 

 

 

Supposedly it's all been agreed to with Seabourn, but neither party has posted information about the details. Supposedly "coming soon." Sigh.

 

And as you say, what we know today or tomorrow is almost certain to change -- multiple times -- before August or September or October. Which makes certain advance planning a tad difficult. 😉 

 

I notice that you are from the Phila area (almost neighbors).  You might appreciate our dilemma.  After booking our SB cruise it occurred to me that since we were flying to Barbados very early on a Wednesday we would need to get a PCR test on a Sunday.  The service (that comes to one's home) recommended by Barbados does not work on Sunday.  So we started looking around for a testing facility that would take a sample on Sunday and guarantee results by sometime Tuesday.  So far, the nearest such facility is in Frederick, MD which is about a 1 1/2 hour drive (each way).  Even they were surprised that we could not find a reliable service in Central PA, but, so far, nobody here meets our own test.  The place in Frederick is actually at a medical laboratory so there is no time lost in transferring a sample...and they do work 7 days a week.   What a pain that Barbados won't except the rapid PCR test that is becoming widely available.

 

Hank

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Hank, I just looked at the site the Barbados government mentions and saw there same thing that our closest location to Philadelphia is the one in Frederick, Maryland. I hope my wife doesn't have to take half a day off of work to drive there for this test. Like you, I'm hoping they will change the requirements to accept other tests in the next couple months before we have to deal with this.

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8 hours ago, cruiseej said:

Hank, I just looked at the site the Barbados government mentions and saw there same thing that our closest location to Philadelphia is the one in Frederick, Maryland. I hope my wife doesn't have to take half a day off of work to drive there for this test. Like you, I'm hoping they will change the requirements to accept other tests in the next couple months before we have to deal with this.

My goodness, surely there is some facility in Phila doing those tests?  It is shocking how hard it seems to be to find anyone who can meet that testing requirement and also guarantee results in about 2 days.  I live in Puerto Vallarta, Mexico during the winter and getting any kind of test there usually means walking a few blocks.  Go figure.

 

Hank

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There might be -- I hope there is -- somewhere in Philadelphia doing tests that meet the Barbados requirements. I haven't spent more than a few minutes researching it. Many of the PCR testing locations I saw offer rapid tests (not allowed) or drive-up tests where the user swabs their own nose and hands the swab to the technician (not allowed). 

 

My hope is that by the time we have to get serious about finding a testing location in September, the requirements for the test will have changed. 

 

From what we now seem to know about the virus and vaccines, it seems that fully vaccinated people should need only a quick antigen test on arrival to show they don't currently have the virus. Before vaccines, the added accuracy of the PCR tests were important; for someone who is fully vaccinated, it's not clear that it is.

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We’ve been following the Barbados tourism website carefully as well, even though our cruise is not until next March. I have also been curious as to how Barbados will treat cruise embarkations ... are they going to be considered as “traveling by air” or “traveling by sea”? One would hope sea, but the whole presentation seems to focus of mode of initial entry to the country. 
 

In any event, I just checked it again and the “coming soon” page for traveling by sea has been slightly undated. It now has a very light cover page behind it that says “protocols for cruises requiring fully vaccinated passengers.”  Thought that was interesting as it appears Barbados may be thinking of adopting separate requirements based on ship vaccination requirements. 
 

Just thought I would share.

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1 hour ago, Navis said:

 

In any event, I just checked it again and the “coming soon” page for traveling by sea has been slightly undated. It now has a very light cover page behind it that says “protocols for cruises requiring fully vaccinated passengers.”  Thought that was interesting as it appears Barbados may be thinking of adopting separate requirements based on ship vaccination requirements. 


We aren’t booked until December and are hoping that by the time we hit the penalty phase that we’ll have a good idea of what the process will be.  Right now our flights have us getting in the day before and returning to the US the same day we disembark.

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50 minutes ago, jenidallas said:


We aren’t booked until December and are hoping that by the time we hit the penalty phase that we’ll have a good idea of what the process will be.  Right now our flights have us getting in the day before and returning to the US the same day we disembark.

We’re taking the same approach and are looking forward to seeing how these early cruises play out. Right now our only option is to fly in the morning of embarkation so if it turns out that is not possible we’ll probably end up cancelling and rebooking ... perhaps for Alaska summer 2022.

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I'm probably as anxious to read  post cruise reviews of the Barbados experiment as the sailors are to board the ships.   So many moving parts.  Hoping for best results. 

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DW and I had a long talk about our early October booking on the Barbados embarkation cruises.  To be honest, we are now having lots of doubts about having done the booking.  Our final payment is not due until July so we will wait and watch but we think the Government of Barbados is doing their best to discourage any visitors.  Consider that although we are fully vaccinated we would have to get a standard PCR test within 3 days of our flight and gamble that the test results get to us in time to upload to the Barbados BIB app.  For us that means driving 1 1/2 hours each way to get tested and paying nearly $400 for two tests.  And then Barbados says that once we arrive in Barbados we need to get tested again (apparently with PCR test) which might cost us another $400 (this is questionable).  And then they say that we can go to our resort (we have one booked for a few days) where we are supposed to stay somewhat isolated (not allowed to go to a beach) until we get the test results from that latest test (this could take up to 2 days).  So at this point, having spent up to $800 on PCR tests we should be good to go?   Barbados does have a page (on their entry site) about "Transit" folks which may or may not apply to cruisers who would fly-in the day of their cruise.  But if that does apply to a cruiser what happens if they have booked a 14 day cruise...when the ship returns to Barbados for the turn around day.  If they are in "Transit" does that mean they must stay on the ship?  Who knows.  Nothing has been clarified by Barbados or Seabourn and one now wonders if they have worked out any of these details.

 

Meanwhile, Seabourn has been completely mute on the entry situation (even though they have cruises starting in a few weeks).    While I do want to give some credit to SB for scheduling these cruises as a way around the CDC (with their ever changing rules) it sounds like nothing has been nailed down with Barbados.  Lets hope this gets straightened out in the next few days.  Otherwise, good luck SB in filling your ships out of Barbados.   Our good news is we are also booked on a SB cruise out of Pireaus and all seems fine in terms of dealing with Greece.

 

Hank

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I’ve resigned myself to feeling anxious about any upcoming travel plans for the foreseeable future.  
 

It’s shocking to me how quickly things are returning to pre-pandemic normal, at least where I am in Texas.  I’ve been sick (in and out of the hospital) since January so most of my public trips this year have been in health care settings. I was completely unprepared for my first field trip out of the house today to vote in a local election and then stop off at a local grocery/takeout to pick up dinner.  I saw no masks today... not at the voting site, not at the culinary establishment, not at patio gatherings we passed in the neighborhood driving between locations, not walking in/out of shops.

 

I am very hopeful that we are reaching the end of this and that as restrictions end (and hopefully case counts continue to decline), we’ll see the restrictions around travel get easier to navigate.  But I no longer feel like I have the context to process the increasing cognitive dissonance I feel between all of the testing requirements and decreasing public actions.  I can’t imagine my anxiety abating until I overcome that.

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9 hours ago, jenidallas said:

 

 

I am very hopeful that we are reaching the end of this and that as restrictions end (and hopefully case counts continue to decline), we’ll see the restrictions around travel get easier to navigate.  But I no longer feel like I have the context to process the increasing cognitive dissonance I feel between all of the testing requirements and decreasing public actions.  I can’t imagine my anxiety abating until I overcome that.

We are still seeing a lot of masks in our area of Dallas, but out in rural East Texas where our farm is---almost no one wears them.  We were among the few masked customers at the local grocery store.  

 

I feel the anxiety from travel uncertainty.  I hope all goes even better than expected and everyone's cruises go on without a hitch.  We haven't traveled yet, but are trying to decide whether to drive or fly to Santa Fe.  

 

So sorry to hear that you have been ill.  You must get totally well and go on that cruise!  Please keep us updated on your thought process regarding your trip going forward.  

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16 hours ago, Hlitner said:

Meanwhile, Seabourn has been completely mute on the entry situation (even though they have cruises starting in a few weeks).    While I do want to give some credit to SB for scheduling these cruises as a way around the CDC (with their ever changing rules) it sounds like nothing has been nailed down with Barbados.

 

I'm also quite surprised and disappointed at the lack of information and transparency from Seabourn. I've been following both Seabourn and Silversea pretty closely over the past month or two as both lines announced their returns to cruising, and Silversea has been much more forthcoming with information and having a top executive accessible here on CC as well as Facebook to answer questions and provide information.

 

Seabourn, while marketing the heck out of these cruises, seems to have no information for passengers. So while we've just booked a Barbados cruise, I'm now stuck taking guesses on when to book our air travel and whether to book a hotel. Of course I understand that rules and procedures are changing frequently, but if they've done the work to make arrangements with the governments of Barbados and all the islands they're going to visit, it seems inexcusable to me that they aren't providing the most up-to-date information to their loyal customers.Our travel agent talked to Seabourn the other day and said they had agreements with the government of Barbados, but neither Barbados tourism authorities nor Seabourn have gotten around to posting this information on either website. We all know things will continue to evolve, and that Seabourn isn't responsible for government-imposed changes, but they owe it to their passengers to share the best, latest information they have available rather than making us scrounge for information and make guesses in our travel planning. And that's now got me second-guessing whether we should be doing this cruise or canceling. 

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22 minutes ago, cruiseej said:

 

I'm also quite surprised and disappointed at the lack of information and transparency from Seabourn. I've been following both Seabourn and Silversea pretty closely over the past month or two as both lines announced their returns to cruising, and Silversea has been much more forthcoming with information and having a top executive accessible here on CC as well as Facebook to answer questions and provide information.

 

Seabourn, while marketing the heck out of these cruises, seems to have no information for passengers. So while we've just booked a Barbados cruise, I'm now stuck taking guesses on when to book our air travel and whether to book a hotel. Of course I understand that rules and procedures are changing frequently, but if they've done the work to make arrangements with the governments of Barbados and all the islands they're going to visit, it seems inexcusable to me that they aren't providing the most up-to-date information to their loyal customers.Our travel agent talked to Seabourn the other day and said they had agreements with the government of Barbados, but neither Barbados tourism authorities nor Seabourn have gotten around to posting this information on either website. We all know things will continue to evolve, and that Seabourn isn't responsible for government-imposed changes, but they owe it to their passengers to share the best, latest information they have available rather than making us scrounge for information and make guesses in our travel planning. And that's now got me second-guessing whether we should be doing this cruise or canceling. 

Our booking is for October and we have only a few days left before we get into SB's 15% penalty phase.  We already have booked our air (arriving 4 days prior to our cruise date) and a decent all-inclusive resort.  If we cancel in the next few days we would get our deposit back from SB, a full refund from the AI, and we could change our air to a different option that would fit our future plans.  So we are reaching one of those decision points understood by most cruisers/travelers.  When I have called SB they are very friendly and helpful, but I am just speaking with a reservations/customer service agent who is obviously reading from a script.    I also have another big issue with SB.  If you read their current guarantee it says we would be able to later cancel this cruise and be compensated with a FCC.  But that FCC must be used by April 2022 which is a ridiculously short period of time and would unlikely work for our schedule (we have lots of other travel booked for the next year.

 

Guess I will give SB another call early this week and see if I can get to somebody in a position to have real information (as opposed to the usual scripts).  In some ways I understand that all the cruise lines are being challenged by various governments, but at this point we are owed more of an explanation.   Speaking of Customer Information we are also booked on a SB cruise out of Pireaus at the end of July.  Those Greek cruises start in about 1 month and there is very little info from SB about those cruises.  Fortunately the Greek Government has been very forthcoming (with a terrific positive attitude towards the cruise lines) so we feel pretty good about that booking despite getting little information from SB.  As an example, while SB has told me (verbally) that there will be no restrictions on doing things on our own in the ports, there is nothing on SB's own site about this issue or any guidance.  About all we know from SB is that everyone must be fully vaccinated, but that is essentially the policy of Greece.  Will we need to constantly wear masks aboard the Ovation?  Who knows?  I am all for some adventure, but this is ridiculous.

 

Hank

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We have booked "day of the cruise" flights for late October through Seabourn from Miami to Barbados with transfers directly to the ship. Wouldn't we be considered "in transit" passengers and be able to bypass the quarantine process? We are fully vaccinated and can take the required test within 3 days of travel. If this is not allowed why would Seabourn permit this booking?

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35 minutes ago, twodjs said:

We have booked "day of the cruise" flights for late October through Seabourn from Miami to Barbados with transfers directly to the ship. Wouldn't we be considered "in transit" passengers and be able to bypass the quarantine process? We are fully vaccinated and can take the required test within 3 days of travel. If this is not allowed why would Seabourn permit this booking?

Good questions for which we can only guess as to the answers.  But we would not even consider flying in day of the cruise since there are only a few daily flights from the US to Barbados and most are through Miami during hurricane season.   Not only would a weather related canceled flight have us playing catch-up with the ship, but the PCR test might no longer be valid (because of a flight delay) which means starting that testing cycle all over again.  In this COVID era there are a lot of moving parts to any trip plan.

 

Hank

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55 minutes ago, Hlitner said:

But that FCC must be used by April 2022 which is a ridiculously short period of time

 

@HlitnerDoes that mean you need to book a cruise by April 2022, or travel on a cruise by April 2022?

 

Since our Barbados cruise is at the end of September, we're already into the 15% penalty phase.

 

55 minutes ago, twodjs said:

Wouldn't we be considered "in transit" passengers and be able to bypass the quarantine process?

 

According to our TA, who talks to Seabourn, they have agreements in place with the government for passengers arriving the day of or day before embarkation. Day of embarkation I assume you get whisked onto a bus and taken directly to the pier, bypassing really being "loose" in the country. It's not clear if you'd still need to take the test at the airport, or if there will be a pier-side rapid test. Who knows? If you arrive the day before embarkation, it seems like you'd need to get the test and be confined to your hotel. Maybe you don't need the test if it's just that one day in quarantine? Who knows? What if we want to come in 2 days before embarkation? I guess we take a test and are confined to a hotel until our test clears or it's time to leave for the ship? Who knows?

 

There just shouldn't be this many unknowns when the first Barbados cruises are departing in about 5 weeks. We have a couple weeks until our full payment is due, and if there's no more information from Seabourn by then, we'll have to re-think our confidence in them for doing this trip.

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