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Bahamas raises cruise ship passenger taxes in 2024, which means your cruise cost is going up

27 Jul 2023
Matt Hochberg

If your cruise is headed to The Bahamas next year, you'll probably need to pay a bit more for your vacation.

Independence of the Seas & Celebrity Reflection in Nassau

Royal Caribbean informed passengers booked on cruises to The Bahamas that due to a change in Bahamian taxes imposed on cruise passengers, the cost will go up.

The Bahamian government has implemented a change to their departure tax amounts for all cruise guests visiting the Bahamas on or after January 1, 2024.  As a result, Royal Caribbean will be updating reservations with the new amount.

Bahamas tax update email

An email was sent with the update, indicating the exact amount you'll be charged extra will depend on a variety of factors:

"Your adjusted taxes and fees will reflect on your booking before your final payment due date. Your tax amount may have changed from $1 to $14, depending on the itinerary you booked, and your travel partner has been notified of this update. Bookings are being updated in phases based on the sailing date."

What do you have to do?


If you have a 2024 cruise that visits The Bahamas, there's nothing to do right now.

Royal Caribbean's email is simply to inform passengers of what to expect if the price for final payment goes up a few dollars.

Sizeable impact to Royal Caribbean cruises

Symphony of the Seas docked at CocoCay

It's likely a lot of cruises will see a change in the taxes given how often Royal Caribbean visits The Bahamas.

Nassau has always been a traditional port stop for many cruises, and the development of Perfect Day at CocoCay has driven many more millions of passengers in recent years.

Ships docked at CocoCay

In fact, more than half of the cruise line's Caribbean sailings visit Perfect Day at CocoCay.

Royal Caribbean International President and CEO Michael Bayley told Wall Street earlier this year that CocoCay receives approximately 11,000 cruise passengers per day.  Once the new adults-only beach opens, they will be able to add another 2,500, 3,000 guests per day.

Impacting Celebrity Cruises too

Celebrity Beyond

Sister brand Celebrity Cruises will also feel the pinch with the new tax.

For the first time, Celebrity Cruises ships will call at Perfect Day at CocoCay in 2024. Celebrity Beyond and Celebrity Reflection have visits to Royal Caribbean's private island from April through November 2024.

Both ships will sail from Fort Lauderdale, with Beyond's visits to CocoCay will be included across 40 Caribbean itineraries. Reflection will begin sailing short weekend cruises.

New Nassau port upgrade


While no one likes to pay more in taxes, at least there's some comfort in the fact The Bahamas is taking its port experience more seriously.

Nassau spent $300 million upgrading their cruise port, with the first phase of this redevelopment opened to the public on May 27, 2023. 

The revamp includes a new terminal building, Junkanoo museum, 3,500-person amphitheater, living coral exhibit plus more entertainment, food, beverage and retail space. Once complete, the port’s capacity will jump to more than 33,000 passengers per day. It has been around 20,000 a day.

Read moreNassau, Bahamas opened the first phase of its cruise port revamp. Here's what's new and different


Last year the island had 2 million cruisers visit it, and Mr. Bayley expects to send around 2.5 million passengers to CocoCay this year.

The port is now able to accommodate up to six cruise ships per day, including three Oasis or Icon Class ships. 

Nassau set a record on February 27 when 28,554 passengers visited in one day.

The upgraded port is expected to bring in 4 million passengers by the end of 2023 and 4.5 million in 2024.

Matt started Royal Caribbean Blog in 2010 as a place to share his passion for all things Royal Caribbean with readers. He oversees all the writers at Royal Caribbean Blog, and writes a great deal of content on a daily basis.  He has become one of the foremost expert on a Royal Caribbean cruise.

Over the years, he has reached Pinnacle Club status with Royal Caribbean's customer loyalty program.

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