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Barbados summer cruises 2021


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So here is how it works in our resort with current information (not from SB).  We fly-in 4 days before the cruise and then will be transferred to our resort whose transfer service and resort are both government approved.  Once at our resort we will receive a free fast antigen test and have free run of the resort once the results are back (guaranteed same day and likely within a couple of hours).  At that point we are free to come and go as we please anywhere on Barbados.  But that is based on the policy existing on June 2...so it could change.  This only applies to those who can prove they are fully vaccinated.  If not fully vaccinated there is a 5 day quarantine requirement which also involves a PCR test on day 3.

 

As to that April 2022 I posted earlier this was an error (on my part).  Under SB's FAQs it says that FCCs can be used for cruises booked and departing by Dec 31, 2022.  

 

Hank

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17 hours ago, jenidallas said:

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

 

That's the way I feel.  If I am going to be unusually anxious, then maybe it's too soon for me to make travel plans of any type?  

 

17 hours ago, jenidallas said:

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.

 

Ohio's public health orders were lifted on June 2nd.  Our movement to what was pre-Covid "normal" is rapidly progressing as well.  I want to "break my bubble" and intended to do so this Sunday morning by attending my first in person Church service in ?? months.  I "chickened out".  Watching the virtual service, the only persons wearing a mask were the children too young to get the vaccine.  Very, very thankful that my mask wearing days are near an end if not over.  Just not sure that being part of a good sized group and not knowing the percentage vaccinated or not is yet a good idea for me.  

 

Going to the grocery, my wine store where no masks are now required?  That's OK because I am there for such a limited period of time.  But, when I am going to be around others for a period of time....I think I will be uncomfortable.  At least for awhile.  

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The Barbados Government has finally published their entry requirements/standards for cruisers and it can be found at  COVID-19 TRAVEL GUIDELINES 2021 - Visit Barbados    .  Just scroll down the page and click on the "Traveling by Sea" box to access the info.  It is a bit complicated.  But it appears that those doing a 14 day cruise will either need to stay onboard during the turn around day when the ship is back in Barbados or take a carefully controlled SB Excursion.  For those of us planning on staying in Barbados pre or post cruise there are different rules.  All complicated but doable...and at least now we know the rules.

 

Hank

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Thanks so much for posting the updated travel guideines for Barbados. Flying in on the day of the cruise through Seabourn utilizing the "sterile corridor" seems very straight forward and easy to follow. Now if we can just avoid those pesky hurricanes. 😁

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25 minutes ago, twodjs said:

Now if we can just avoid those pesky hurricanes. 😁

 

They might add an additional "experience" to what promises to be a "different" cruise experience.  😀

 

Good wishes for a pleasant cruise!

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This helps,. but I'm still unsure about the feasibility of arriving a day or two before a cruise. Is it saying we arrive, need to get tested after arrival (where? airport? hotel? some government facility?), go to an authorized hotel (via authorized transportation), and wait there for test results? If test results don't arrive by the time it's necessary to leave for the port to mark, can we travel to the port, or are we stuck at the hotel and miss our cruise?

 

It sure makes it seem you either need to arrive 3, 4 or more days before a cruise , or arrive day of embarkation; arriving 1 or 2 days before seems problematic, even though that's typically what we do before  a cruise. 

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31 minutes ago, cruiseej said:

It sure makes it seem you either need to arrive 3, 4 or more days before a cruise , or arrive day of embarkation; arriving 1 or 2 days before seems problematic, even though that's typically what we do before  a cruise. 

That’s how we are reading it too which makes it very confusing.  We can’t safely ensure we can get from Texas to Barbados in the same day for a cruise departure (especially in December), so we have to assume we are overnighting somewhere.  Right now it seems like Miami is a safer bet and then straight yo the ship, but it’s a shame for the island to miss out on that revenue!

 

I think for us the deciding factor is going to be what the visit restrictions look like for the other islands and whether we will also have bubble requirements.  If we do, this may not be the year that we dip our toes in the cruise waters. 

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I've done a lot of research on this as we are booked on Seabourn's Barbados cruise.  Because Barbados requires, not only negative test within 72 hours of arrival, a test upon arrival and quarantine until the result is delivered, we are arriving a day early in Barbados.  We have to take a COVID approved vehicle from the airport to a COVID approved hotel, then stay at the hotel until we receive a negative result.  I have, in writing, from Barbados government, that if the result is not delivered to us by the next day, we will still be allowed to board the cruise ship.  So, that solves the arrival issue and it is a shame we won't be able to see Barbados during our early arrival.

 

But, then the problems start with Seabourn (this is our first time cruising with Seabourn).  All but two of the islands (St. Lucia and St. Kitts & Nevis) on the itinerary require negative testing on arrival, with quarantining until results given days later.  That makes it impossible to see the islands.  Seabourn just informed us, after taking our money, that we may have to take its excursions to see the islands; otherwise, we will have to stay on the ship.  Seabourn said that it is working with the islands to allow Seabourn and its guests to avoid on arrival testing, and not posing any risk to the local islanders by forcing guests to take its excursions so that guests cannot venture on their own.  In other words, Seabourn guests would be in a bubble never going outside of the confines of the excursion and possibly exposing islanders to COVID.  I expressed my utter dissatisfaction to Seabourn since excursions in general are overpriced and don't allow you to see as much as you would like.  While things could change before the cruise, Seabourn has little incentive to negotiate with the islands to allow guests to travel on their own since Seabourn will make a lot more money from guests on excursions.  This is quite disturbing.

 

Additionally, at the moment, according to its website, St. Martin does not even allow cruise ships to visit.  Yet, it's on Seabourn's itinerary.

 

We can't cancel without penalty and Seabourn won't return our money or reimburse us for our nonrefundable air tickets to and from Barbados.  So, we are quite disgruntled.  Our hope is that things change by the time of the cruise, which is a possibility.

 

If anyone has any other information about this cruise, the foregoing issues, and what Seabourn is telling them, we'd love to hear it. 

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The requirement to be restricted to ship-run excursions seems pretty comparable across other luxury cruise lines as cruising restarts this month -- largely because of restrictions by local governments and ports, not because of the cruise lines's desire to take in more money on excursions. They know that the type of passengers who sale on cruise lines like Seabourn, Silversea, Crystal and Regent have been to many parts of the world before, and value being able to explore on their own; with crew and passengers required to be 100% vaccinated, I don't think any of the cruise lines are restricting their passengers into an excursion bubble unless absolutely required by local authorities. 

 

(The difference I find annoying is that Silversea is including a choice of one excursion per day included in the cruise fare, while Seabourn is sticking with charging customers regular prices for excursions, even though they may be the only way to get off the ship. On the other hand, Seabourn's price per day for several cruises I looked at are $100-$130/day/person lower than Silversea's for this season's Caribbean cruises, so it probably ends up balancing out.)

 

Because of Seabourn's "Book with Confidence" policy, you can cancel your cruise without penalty and get a credit for what you've paid so far (towards a different sailing by April 2022). 

 

As for the airline tickets, it unfortunately may not have been the best option in this case to purchase non-refundable tickets on your own. With the constantly changing state of Covid 19 in different parts of the world, and the resulting ongoing rapid evolution of travel rules -- which will undoubtedly continue over the months to come -- I find it hard to book air on my own as I normally might do. Booking air through the cruise line guarantees that if things change -- from the cruise being canceled outright to any change in timing, rules, or port of embarkation or disembarkation, etc. -- the cruise line is responsible for making changes in your air at no cost to you, and for getting you to your ship. Since our cruise is still smack in the middle of hurricane season, which increases the chances of flight disruptions, I feel there's double the reason to book air through the cruise line. In our case, Seabourn isn't offering any promotional pricing for air, so they'll book it for basically what we'd pay on our own, but now they'll be responsible instead of us  if things need to change. In your case, although your tickets are non-refundable, can they be changed to a different date? Most airlines have relaxed their change policies. Could you move your cruise to next year, and move your air tickets as well? Just a thought.

 

My hope, like yours, is that some of the rules for Barbados and other islands will be relaxed by the time we head for the Caribbean (in our case, at the end of September). But I think anyone deciding to book these early cruises has to go into it expecting some unexpected changes are likely because there are too many curve balls as the travel world tries to reboot over the next 6 months.

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Did a provisional booking for August ( based in UK) and only noticed last night that FCDO advice has not changed for international cruises since April 22 and advises against it - consequently my insurance company will not cover trip.

Tried battleface and staysure but will only cover an eu cruise. Anyone from UK booked on one of these and managed to find insurance?

Thanks

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Here's a question unrelated to getting onto the island and the ship... For anyone booked on one of the Barbados cruises: if you've looked at available excursions, a number of them are for renting an entire motorboat or catamaran for a party of 10 or 12 people. Does anyone know if once onboard they will allow multiple parties to come together for one boat? Or do you need to be traveling in a group of 10 (or pay $3,000 for a private boat for two!) to do any of these excursions? On one hand, I understand Covid has changed the rules; on the other hand, if everyone is fully vaccinated and can dine together, can they not share an excursion together? (And if so, how is this handled? Does Seabourn Square take names and if enough people sign up, they hire a boat?)

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On 6/10/2021 at 2:22 PM, cruiseej said:

Does anyone know if once onboard they will allow multiple parties to come together for one boat?

 

Or do you need to be traveling in a group of 10 (or pay $3,000 for a private boat for two!) to do any of these excursions?
 

Does Seabourn Square take names and if enough people sign up, they hire a boat?)


Pre-Covid, the answer was yes to multiple parties being able to share a private excursion.  One party would need to make/pay for the reservation though and then had the ability to invite the number of others they wanted.  That cabin gets charged the full amount and is responsible for collecting shared cost from others should they wish to do so.

 

These tend to be popular with families or groups traveling together.  Occasionally someone will put a private group together on a roll call here on CC to use a Seabourn private operator, but frankly you can generally prearrange car or boat service on your own in advance with local operators at a fraction of Seabourn’s markup!

 

I’m not aware of Seabourn coordinating individual interest to join a private group but maybe that will change in the new environment?  I wouldn’t personally bank on them doing that… they are already on the hook for the cost of the coordinated excursions so their interest should be in filling those first.

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@jenidallas Thanks. That's pretty much what I figured. Since we're likely to be prohibited from booking our own excursions (it would be nice if Seabourn provided details about what we can and can't do, but they have not!), I wondered if they'd try to facilitate assembling groups to share these excursions. My thought was that they probably don't want to be in the middle of that, and probably won't do it. It's a shame, because on a few of the islands, the boat trips are very appealing, but can only be booked by the boat, not by by individuals. 

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Has anyone advised Celebrity that they cannot dock in St. Martin?   This is their embarkation and debark action port.   Two cruises have already left from the port.   Folks are very dissatisfied with the airport experience bot so far, not with St. Martin.

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On 6/8/2021 at 6:23 PM, Borna said:

I've done a lot of research on this as we are booked on Seabourn's Barbados cruise.  Because Barbados requires, not only negative test within 72 hours of arrival, a test upon arrival and quarantine until the result is delivered, we are arriving a day early in Barbados.  We have to take a COVID approved vehicle from the airport to a COVID approved hotel, then stay at the hotel until we receive a negative result.  I have, in writing, from Barbados government, that if the result is not delivered to us by the next day, we will still be allowed to board the cruise ship.  So, that solves the arrival issue and it is a shame we won't be able to see Barbados during our early arrival.

 

But, then the problems start with Seabourn (this is our first time cruising with Seabourn).  All but two of the islands (St. Lucia and St. Kitts & Nevis) on the itinerary require negative testing on arrival, with quarantining until results given days later.  That makes it impossible to see the islands.  Seabourn just informed us, after taking our money, that we may have to take its excursions to see the islands; otherwise, we will have to stay on the ship.  Seabourn said that it is working with the islands to allow Seabourn and its guests to avoid on arrival testing, and not posing any risk to the local islanders by forcing guests to take its excursions so that guests cannot venture on their own.  In other words, Seabourn guests would be in a bubble never going outside of the confines of the excursion and possibly exposing islanders to COVID.  I expressed my utter dissatisfaction to Seabourn since excursions in general are overpriced and don't allow you to see as much as you would like.  While things could change before the cruise, Seabourn has little incentive to negotiate with the islands to allow guests to travel on their own since Seabourn will make a lot more money from guests on excursions.  This is quite disturbing.

 

Additionally, at the moment, according to its website, St. Martin does not even allow cruise ships to visit.  Yet, it's on Seabourn's itinerary.

 

We can't cancel without penalty and Seabourn won't return our money or reimburse us for our nonrefundable air tickets to and from Barbados.  So, we are quite disgruntled.  Our hope is that things change by the time of the cruise, which is a possibility.

 

If anyone has any other information about this cruise, the foregoing issues, and what Seabourn is telling them, we'd love to hear it. 

We are sailing from Oct 10-24.  How did you obtain the letter from the Barbados government.   I hate flying in the day of and would much rather fly in the day before 

 

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Thought I would post some related info we received yesterday from our Barbados resort where we plan to stay for 4 days prior to our October cruise.  As most know, anyone flying to Barbados will need to have a negative RT-PCR Test for which the sample was taken within 3 days of your flight.  They do have other requirements such as the sample must be taken by a medical person and it must be processed by an approved laboratory.  In addition we will need to download the Barbados Government app  (customs and immigration form) and complete it within 3 days of arrival.

 

 Upon arrival in Barbados we will be transferred to our resort via government approved transportation (provided by our resort).  Once at our resort we will need to take another COVID test (either an antigen test or rapid PCR test) and then we will be restricted to our room until the test results are returned (our resort guarantees the same day).  Once that test is declared negative we are free to do as we please at the resort and on the island.

 

I will emphasize (because our resort emphasized this) that what I have posted is based on the current rules.  These rules could very well change before our trip in October and it is our responsibility to keep up with any changing rules.  

 

One other interesting tidbit.  We are spending our pre-cruise trip at Sandals and our resort is nearly sold-out for our dates.  I will admit that we found this surprising (and expensive since only the more expensive rooms were available) given all the entry restrictions.  Apparently many folks are willing to put up with all the rules to go to Barbados.  And for those who are thinking about taking any of these cruises make sure to pay attention to your air arrangements since there are very few daily flights between the USA and Barbados and just this week AA has cancelled one of their two daily flights (through Oct 6) that operate between MIA and Barbados.

 

Hank

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@Hlitner  Thanks for the informative post. I just discovered the American Airlines flights changes this week, when I went to book the flights I had looked at last week and found all the flights had changed.

 

From my reading, there seem to be two options for getting tested upon arrival in Barbados. One, as you mention, is to travel to an approved hotel and have a test done there; the other is to have a test at the airport. There seems to be clear pros and cons both ways. The test at the airport is supposed to be free, as I understand it, and since they are processing a high volume of tests, there should be no lag in the tests being processed. But the thought of a few plane-loads of people waiting in a massive line to be tested is pretty daunting. On the other hand, going to a resort and being tested there sounds painless and easy. However, there's a significant fee ($150 to $250 per person) at most hotels; Sandals seems unique in including it for free. And because the tests have to be taken to a lab, I'm guessing it may take a little longer to get results in most cases. (Perhaps the size of Sandals's two hotels is enabling them to process test results on site, whereas other hotels send them out?) Every other hotel I've looked at says test results are "typically expected within 24 hours."

 

Another thing to note is the quarantine requirements, because different hotels have different rules. You noted that you will be quarantined to your room at Sandals until you have negative test results. At several other hotels I've looked at, guests are free to move around the resort, including using the restaurants and pool, and are only barred from using the beach and gym.

 

(I just looked at Sandals, and wow!, their prices are really high. A 2-day stay would run $3,000-$4,200. Compare that to top-line smaller hotels like the Fairmount or Sandpiper, where you might pay $1,000 for a 2-night stay with breakfast included. It seems you'd be hard pressed to spend an additional $2,000-$3,000 for 2 lunches, 2 dinners, drinks, and transportation to and from the hotel. Sandals offers a bigger playground and entertainment, of course, but that's a significant price premium.)

 

----

 

I'm also getting a bit concerned about the timing issues with the PCR test before leaving home. The rules state that the test must be within 72 hours of arrival in Barbados. So working backwards from an arrival at, say, 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, the test would have to be done after 3 p.m. on Tuesday. If you can't get the test late that day, then it would need to be done Wednesday. But you need to have the results by Thursday evening in order to upload to the government site prior to departure. What happens if you don't get your test results promptly within 24 hours? Or a different scenario: what happens if you get your test at 4 p.m. Tuesday, but your flight is delayed a bit and you don't arrive until 5 p.m. Friday? Now your test is more than 72 hours old; my understanding is that you then need to start over and take a new PCR (non-rapid) test in Barbados, resulting in quarantine for 1-2 days. I'd think then that you'd really want to get the test on Wednesday (2 days before departure, not 3), so the need for test results within 24 hours becomes paramount. I wonder how many testing locations in the US can pretty much guarantee 24-36 hour results?

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1 hour ago, cruiseej said:

@Hlitner  Thanks for the informative post. I just discovered the American Airlines flights changes this week, when I went to book the flights I had looked at last week and found all the flights had changed.

 

From my reading, there seem to be two options for getting tested upon arrival in Barbados. One, as you mention, is to travel to an approved hotel and have a test done there; the other is to have a test at the airport. There seems to be clear pros and cons both ways. The test at the airport is supposed to be free, as I understand it, and since they are processing a high volume of tests, there should be no lag in the tests being processed. But the thought of a few plane-loads of people waiting in a massive line to be tested is pretty daunting. On the other hand, going to a resort and being tested there sounds painless and easy. However, there's a significant fee ($150 to $250 per person) at most hotels; Sandals seems unique in including it for free. And because the tests have to be taken to a lab, I'm guessing it may take a little longer to get results in most cases. (Perhaps the size of Sandals's two hotels is enabling them to process test results on site, whereas other hotels send them out?) Every other hotel I've looked at says test results are "typically expected within 24 hours."

 

Another thing to note is the quarantine requirements, because different hotels have different rules. You noted that you will be quarantined to your room at Sandals until you have negative test results. At several other hotels I've looked at, guests are free to move around the resort, including using the restaurants and pool, and are only barred from using the beach and gym.

 

(I just looked at Sandals, and wow!, their prices are really high. A 2-day stay would run $3,000-$4,200. Compare that to top-line smaller hotels like the Fairmount or Sandpiper, where you might pay $1,000 for a 2-night stay with breakfast included. It seems you'd be hard pressed to spend an additional $2,000-$3,000 for 2 lunches, 2 dinners, drinks, and transportation to and from the hotel. Sandals offers a bigger playground and entertainment, of course, but that's a significant price premium.)

 

----

 

I'm also getting a bit concerned about the timing issues with the PCR test before leaving home. The rules state that the test must be within 72 hours of arrival in Barbados. So working backwards from an arrival at, say, 3 p.m. Friday afternoon, the test would have to be done after 3 p.m. on Tuesday. If you can't get the test late that day, then it would need to be done Wednesday. But you need to have the results by Thursday evening in order to upload to the government site prior to departure. What happens if you don't get your test results promptly within 24 hours? Or a different scenario: what happens if you get your test at 4 p.m. Tuesday, but your flight is delayed a bit and you don't arrive until 5 p.m. Friday? Now your test is more than 72 hours old; my understanding is that you then need to start over and take a new PCR (non-rapid) test in Barbados, resulting in quarantine for 1-2 days. I'd think then that you'd really want to get the test on Wednesday (2 days before departure, not 3), so the need for test results within 24 hours becomes paramount. I wonder how many testing locations in the US can pretty much guarantee 24-36 hour results?

You might want to check with the Barbados authorities, because if I am reading their information correctly you need to have a PCR test conducted no earlier then 3 days prior to arrival.  So according the the chart on their web site, if you were arriving on Friday you would need to have your RT-PCR test no earlier then Tuesday.  I do not see any reference, on their site, to 72 hours.

 

We have actually thought of getting our test only 2 days prior (in case a flight would get canceled) but that adds extra cost at the test site we are eyeing.  In our case we will have to drive nearly 1 1/2 hours (each way) to go to a decent testing site (located right at the lab) that guarantees results in less then 48 hours (24 hours with an extra fee).  A true pain in the neck and we have our fingers and toes crossed that the requirements will be eased by October.  

 

I will add that Seabourn has not been forthcoming with much info on any of their cruises.  We are also booked on the Greek cruise in late July and have received zero information from SB about the cruise (both preliminary and final documents are still on hold) other then the recently issued cruise contract.  I do understand that this is not all the fault of SB since they are at the mercy of the various governments, but more communication would be appreciated.  As an example, the Government of Greece does not require any COVID testing (or quarantine) for those who are fully vaccinated.  But SB has yet to say whether we would need to provide any testing for SB.  Their new cruise contract and info on their web site talks about a needed PCR test but is not definitive.  At times, trip planning now seems like walking through a mine field :).

 

Hank

 

Hank

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9 hours ago, Hlitner said:

if I am reading their information correctly you need to have a PCR test conducted no earlier then 3 days prior to arrival...  I do not see any reference, on their site, to 72 hours.

 

You're correct. "Within 72 hours" is when you can complete the online Immigration and Customs Form, and I conflated that with the timing for the test. The test is within three days. (Although in the Barbados travel document, there are inconsistencies. In  one place it says "PCR test taken 3 days before travel" and in another "within 3 days prior to arrival"; if departure and arrival are not the same day, "before travel" could mean a different day than "prior to arrival". But unless something goes drastically wrong without flights, departure and arrival will be the same day.) So, yes, for our Friday arrival, we'll want to have the text on Tuesday. 

 

9 hours ago, Hlitner said:

I will add that Seabourn has not been forthcoming with much info on any of their cruises.

 

I agree, and it's disappointing. I get a snail mail and email from Seabourn every other day urging us to book these Greece and Caribbean cruises, but now that we have, they have very limited information for us. (Of course things are subject to change, but they should share as much information as they can about what is known/planned now.) I've also closely been following Silversea's similar restart plans, and they have done a much better job providing information about details of their early cruises. 

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We are booked for the Aug 29 sailing and awaiting official requirements.  We booked two one way trips with our airline miles in order to have flexibility.   We are currently come in two days early and staying at the Hilton.   But all that can be flexed if we need to.   Flying from AZ we would at least need to spend the night in Miami in order to arrive the day of the cruise, which would mean doing a scheduled layover with our airline. That can be done with points, but probably not online.   Once we have a more definitive statement from the cruise line we can stick with what we have or flex it a bit.  

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@WesternBroncoCruiser It sounds like you have a well-constructed plan for air travel. We decided to have Seabourn book our air (using the flights we selected) to fly from Philly to Miami to Barbados two days in advance of our September cruise. It was just a few dollars more than booking it myself. This way, if things change at the last minute, Seabourn air will take care of any required changes.

 

The entry requirements at this point seem pretty clear, and the main question is whether the government of Barbados will relax any of the current rules by the time we travel. Everyone needs a RT-PCR test before departure, within three days of arrival in Barbados. If you are vaccinated and arrive the day of the cruise, you can apparently transfer directly to the port without testing at the airport. If you are vaccinated and arrive earlier, as you and we are doing, upon arrival, you need to take a rapid PCR test (supposedly free) at the airport (I wonder how long the line for that will be!), take authorized transportation to an authorized hotel (most of them), and then remain at the hotel until receiving a negative test result.

 

We're still debating which hotel to book. I was originally thinking to do the Hilton on points, but my understanding is that the Hilton requires you to quarantine in your room until your airport test result comes through. Ideally that would be within a few hours, but it's not guaranteed, and could be a day or longer. Some other smaller properties like the Sandpiper or Fairmount allow you to access the pool and restaurant, just not the beach. That's why I've hesitated about the Hilton; I don't want to be stuck in our room and have to eat room service.  (If you have contrary information, I'd be interested to hear.)

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Oh boy, we are booked at the Hilton upon our arrival a day before the cruise.  Distressed to read we might have to quarantine in the room!  Thought all the approved hotels allowed quarantining guests to go anywhere on the hotel grounds.  

What is your source that quarantine at the Hilton is confined to the hotel room?

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