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BMU | May 21, 2022

Bermuda retains $40 cruise authorisation fee for another month

/ Our Today

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The Royal Caribbean cruise ship ‘Grandeur of the Seas’ (rear) is seen July 15, 2013 as tourist’s leave on a ferry at the Royal Naval Dockyard near the port of Hamilton, Bermuda. (Photo: REUTERS/Gary Cameron/File)

Durrant Pate/Contributor

Bermuda has decided to retain its cruise travel authorisation form and $40 fee, at least for another month.

The requirement, first implemented in 2021 will continue at least through the June 16 sailing of Carnival Magic and the June 19 sailing of Carnival Legend. The “Travel Authorization” application to visit Bermuda includes a $40 per person fee, which must be paid prior to cruise embarkation, regardless of when the ship visits Bermuda.

The application also includes information about the guest’s pre-arrival COVID-19 test and vaccination records. The fee must be paid digitally via Visa or MasterCard, as no other payment methods are accepted at this time.

This ‘Travel Authorization’ fee is in addition to the typical port fees and taxes cruise passengers pay. Standard taxes and fees, however, are added to guests’ cruise fare when booking a vacation, while this fee must be paid independently and is not handled through the cruise line.

Fee considered an extra tax by some travellers

The fee, which was first implemented as a COVID-19 mitigation measure to ensure Bermuda-bound travellers were vaccinated and had a negative test result before arrival into the country, does not pay for any further testing, quarantine assistance, or other actions, but is being considered an extra tax by some travellers. Instead, the costs only help support the travel authorisation website, hotline, and employees necessary to process applications. 

Some officials have already begun to call for the removal of the form and the fee, believing it to be an unnecessary obstacle for travellers and potentially causing visitors to choose other destinations instead. At this time, the fee continues to be required, and cruise travellers should check with their cruise line for updates as their sailing to Bermuda approaches.

Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador, John Heald addressed the Bermuda fees in a recent “coffee” live chat on Facebook explaining that four upcoming Carnival cruises are to be impacted by additional fee requirements in Bermuda. In addition to Carnival Cruise Line, other lines making calls to Bermuda in the next few weeks include Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, and Regent Seven Seas Cruises.

Guests sailing to Bermuda on a Carnival cruise for the next few weeks will need to continue to complete the country’s travel authorisation form and pay additional fees.

Bermuda requirement remains in place

According to Heald, “We, as an industry, and it’s not just us, it’s every cruise line, we have been working with the Bermudan government to try and negotiate away from this actual fee but it’s not been something that the industry has been successful in.”  The fee must be paid by all passengers over the age of 2, regardless of whether or not the passengers will be getting off the ship in Bermuda for a shore excursion or individual exploration of the port.

John Heald, Carnival Cruise Line brand ambassador preparing a confetti toss as the company was an official sponsor of New Year’s Eve celebrations at Time’s Square, New York City in 2011. (Photo: Cruise Source.us)

Guests booked on the upcoming impacted cruises will be emailed reminders to take care of the registration and fee before arriving at the cruise port.

Guests are encouraged not to wait until the last minute to complete the form and pay the fee, as website outages may cause delays in processing the form, and guests must receive approval before their cruise embarkation.

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