The U.S. State Department has issued a statement advising Americans against taking a cruise vacation this spring break and until further notice as the novel coronavirus known as COVID-19 continues to spread.
The statement–posted on the State Department’s website–reads:
U.S. citizens, particularly travelers with underlying health conditions, should not travel by cruise ship. CDC notes increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment. In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, many countries have implemented strict screening procedures that have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking. In some cases, local authorities have permitted disembarkation but subjected passengers to local quarantine procedures. While the U.S. government has evacuated some cruise ship passengers in recent weeks, repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities.
This is a fluid situation. CDC notes that older adults and travelers with underlying health issues should avoid situations that put them at increased risk for more severe disease. This entails avoiding crowded places, avoiding non-essential travel such as long plane trips, and especially avoiding embarking on cruise ships. Passengers with plans to travel by cruise ship should contact their cruise line companies directly for further information and continue to monitor the Travel.state.gov website and see the latest information from the CDC: https://www.cdc.gov/quarantine/cruise/index.html.
This advisement comes on the heels of some unsettling news stories where cruise ships have become the perfect storm for the spread of the Coronavirus. These stories include the Diamond Princess Cruise Ship that was left quarantines off Yokohama, Japan, and the Grand Princess sitting off San Francisco. As of now, there are over 550 recorded cases of coronavirus in the U.S. with 21 deaths. Several of those cases were from Americans stuck on cruise ships.
While the closed quarters of a ship are perfect for the fast spread of the disease, and this is a sweeping advisory across the entire cruise industry, we at Inside the Magic want to remind our readers that the government and centers for disease control are NOT forcing the cruise companies to cancel their sailings and Disney Cruise Line has remained safe from these quarantines thanks to the health screenings and other strict boarding restrictions it put in place for its passengers. However, the possibility of being quarantined should a coronavirus scare occur is something to be aware of.
We also want to remind you that the most prominent symptoms of this virus include fever, coughing, and shortness of breath. Doctors have reported that children who have tested positive with the disease only appear to be suffering from a cold. Those most susceptible to the disease are the elderly and those with compromised immune systems and underlying health conditions.
There are also still no restrictions on travel within the United States. Vice President Mike Pence has come out to stress this point saying:
“Whether it be Disney World, whether it be other destination, whether it be cruise ships … those most at risk are seniors with serious or chronic underlying health conditions…Otherwise, Americans can confidently travel in this country,”
Still, we understand if some of our readers feel the need to cancel their upcoming Disney Cruise, and the cruise line is responding properly to the situation.
According to the Disney Cruise Line website, temporary lenient change policies have been put in place based on the location of the cruise and the sailing dates. Please review closely to see if your cruise qualifies:
- Guests currently booked on our European sailings through our July 25 departure can change their reservation up until the day before embarkation and receive a 100% cruise credit to be used for future sailing within 15 months of their original sail date by calling us at 1-866-325-2112 or 407-566-3510 or contacting their travel agent. The credit is non-refundable and standard prevailing rates will apply.
- Alternatively, Guests currently booked on our July 13, July 18 and July 25, 2020, European sailings may delay their final payment to 30 days prior to their sailing.
- All Guests scheduled to depart on the Disney Magic between now and May 8, 2020, and the Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder between now and May 31, 2020, can change their reservation up until the day before embarkation and receive a 100% cruise credit to be used for a future sailing within 12 months of their original sail date by calling us at 1-866-325-2112 or 407-566-3510 or contacting their travel agent. The credit is non-refundable and standard prevailing rates will apply.
But this situation is a good reminder that you don’t want to be waiting for the cruise line or the resort to make a statement about cancellation or change policies. You should be completely aware of all crucial policies regarding your vacation, be it a Disney trip or otherwise. That’s why it is important to book with a travel agency whose experts work with you personally to ensure you are aware of all possible exit strategies.
That’s why we continue to recommend you book your next vacation with our friends at Academy Travel. They have years of experience booking unforgettable cruises and other vacations both Disney and otherwise. They know what it takes to not just get you the best possible deal on your Disney Cruise vacation, but to also get you all the necessary information so you know exactly what to expect the next time you have to cancel or reschedule your sailing. Click here to learn more and receive your free, no-obligation quote today!