by Beth Keating
August 24, 2021
One thing can be said about the current travel season: It changes by the day! Consider what’s happening with Disney Cruise Line.
Last month, when Disney launched its test sailing with volunteer passengers in order to comply with (the then-current) CDC simulated voyage Conditional Sailing guidelines, it was with hope that they could return to sailing without the required level of vaccinated passengers. Being a “Disney” entity, whose clientele consists of legions of families with younglings under the age of 12 who are not eligible for vaccines, the CDC threshold of a 95% vaccination rate without the simulated voyage would potentially have been difficult for Disney to achieve.
Today, however, Disney Cruise Line announced changes to their rules. Vaccinations will now be required for Disney Cruise Line passengers beginning September 3. The new guidelines are predominantly based on a change to the entry requirements from The Bahamas, where Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, is located.
According to Disney’s announcement today, “For sailings to The Bahamas beginning September 3, 2021 until November 1, 2021, The Bahamas will require that all passengers ages 12 and older be fully vaccinated in order for a ship to be allowed entry into any of its cruise ports, including private islands like Disney Castaway Cay.”
In additional information on the Disney Cruise Line website, all passengers ages 12 and older must be fully vaccinated to board the ship. Guests who choose not to provide proof of vaccination will not be permitted to board. Guests must provide proof of vaccination by uploading their vaccination card to the Safe Passage by Inspire website. (The CDC considers people to be fully vaccinated 14 days after their final dose has been administered, so guests should take that timing into consideration when planning their itineraries.)
According to the Cruise Line, “Guests under the age of 12 must still provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken between 5 days and 24 hours prior to the sail date by uploading their test results to the Safe Passage by Inspire website. They will also be required to undergo a second PCR COVID-19 test administered by Inspire Diagnostics at the terminal prior to boarding.”
For those guests who cannot comply with the new regulations, they may modify their sail date or cancel their sailing without any Disney-imposed cancellation fees by contacting the reservations team at (866) 325-6685 or (407) 566-7797 by September 3, 2021.
A complete list of the new requirements and details can be found on Disney Cruise Lines’ “Know Before You Go” page, which will continue to update information as conditions change.
Additional details on specific ships include:
• The September 4, 2021, Disney Fantasy sailing has been cancelled.
• Beginning August 25, 2021, guests can book 4-night cruises scheduled to take place after September 11, 2021, from Port Canaveral, Florida, to Disney’s Castaway Cay on the Disney Fantasy.
• If you were scheduled for a seven-night Disney Fantasy voyage departing Sept. 11, Sept. 18, Sept. 25 or Oct. 2: Your cruise will automatically transition to the new four-night itineraries, with the same departure dates. (Contact your travel agency or Disney Cruise Line for the complete list of refunds, credits, and adjustments that will be made for affected guests who choose not to sail on the shorter cruise, or who may already be paid in full and need refunds for the shorter journey.)
• 7-night voyages onboard the Disney Fantasy are tentatively set for October, and Disney will release additional information on those sailings shortly.
• The Disney Dream is offering 3- and 4-night trips from Port Canaveral to Castaway Cay in The Bahamas.
Disney Magic and Disney Wonder:
With the Disney Dream’s return to the high seas came the opportunity for guests to see the changes that were made to the Cruise Line’s art-deco-inspired terminal at Port Canaveral. An extended covered walkway for arrivals, expanded terminal entrance, and a new passenger bridge were among the upgrades awaiting this summer’s passengers.
Without a doubt, Cruise Line passengers will be exposed to numerous, and potentially last-minute, changes to their adventures as Disney begins its phased return approach to sailing, and as COVID conditions change. Check back to the Disney Cruise Line’s website often for the most accurate and up-to-date information.
Beth Keating is a regular contributor to DisneyBizJournal.
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