A piece of Grand Bahama’s tourism puzzle may soon be put back in place. Bahamas Paradise Cruise Line could return to the island in July, if its test cruise three weeks from now is successful and approved by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
Bahamas Paradise is preparing to carry out its prerequisite test cruise on June 25, as required by the CDC, according to an article in The Palm Beach Post.
The article explained that the test cruise will take Bahamas Paradise from the Port of Palm Beach to Grand Bahama with fewer than 50 passengers.
The CDC requires that passengers on test cruises be volunteers.
Bahamas Paradise President and Chief Executive Officer Oneil Khosa said in the article that the ship will begin regular two-night, back-to-back sailings to Grand Bahama if the CDC approves the test sailing’s findings.
Khosa said on The Bahamas’ side, testing requirements could present a challenge as unvaccinated crew may be required to take an RT/PCR test every 72 hours.
“What does a small cruise line like us do if the destination requires that?” Khosa said in the article.
“Bahamian regulations mandate that they have a COVID test within 72 hours or a vaccination, and having a crew test every 72 hours is impractical.”
Bahamas Paradise has suffered huge losses because of the COVID-19 pandemic, having to sell one of its two ships to scrap in order for the company to stay afloat.
Khosa said in the Palm Beach Post article that very soon, the company will be putting those losses behind it as it returns to business.
“It’s been a lot of pain, but we’re still standing,” he said.
“We have all been beaten down for over a year now, but hopefully, we’ll forget about the bad days very soon.”