Disney Cruise Line followed the lead of Princess Cruises and Viking Cruises, and decided on March 12, 2020, to suspend all sailings beginning with all new departures on and after March 14, 2020.
In an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our guests and employees, Disney Cruise Line has decided to suspend all new departures beginning Saturday, March 14, 2020, through the end of the month. This precautionary measure applies to all four of Disney’s cruise ships.
Disney Cruise Line will offer guests affected by this decision a future cruise credit or a full refund, the details of which will be provided directly to them. Given the higher than normal call volume at our Call Center, we ask that affected guests or their travel agent wait to contact us until after they receive an email from us.
The choice between a future cruise credit or a full refund is valid for all previously scheduled cruises departing between March 14, 2020, and March 30, 2020.
Princess Cruises has decided to suspend all operations for the next 60 days. Viking Cruises has also canceled its upcoming sailings until May 1. These are the latest responses from the cruise companies to the enduring spread of the coronavirus, and the come on the heels of President Donald Trump’s decision to put tight restrictions on travel to and from the European Continent for the next 30 days.
Considering how cruise ships have proven to be a perfect setting for the spread of the virus, it would be no stretch of the imagination to see other cruise companies follow suit in suspending or even canceling sailings.
But where does this leave Disney Cruise Line?
The Walt Disney Company’s award-winning cruise line made its last update on March 6. So far, Disney Cruise Line has updated the health questionnaire and health screenings passengers are required to pass before boarding (anybody who has traveled to , South Korea, Macau, , or Italy in the past 14 days cannot embark) and enacted a more lenient cancellation policy. They even offered cabin upgrades to those passengers still looking to sail. You can read our coverage of both those stories by clicking the links below:
But beyond the thorough and advanced precautionary measures taken, Disney Cruise Line also stands out from its competition in a few ways that we at Inside the Magic want our readers to understand. Primarily, those differences reside in the available itineraries and the age of the passengers.
Disney Cruise Line’s Itineraries
As of now, Disney Cruise Line has canceled no sailings, and their regulations have helped ensure a secure experience up until this point. The only Pacific sailings for late winter and early spring include those to Hawaii, Mexico and the Pacific Coast of the United States. Everything else is sailing to the Bahamas or elsewhere in the Caribbean. Disney Cruise Line proudly services European destinations–especially Venice, Italy–however, those cruise itineraries are not scheduled to begin until May.
The Cruise Industry is Looking to Age as a Factor
It should also be mentioned that Princess Cruises and Viking Cruises are luxury liners that cater to a much older group of travelers. The median age demographic of their customers is much higher than that of Disney’s which puts their target audience at a much greater risk.
Unfortunately, Princess Cruises has taken the biggest hit. Operating the two major cruise ship stories, the Diamond Princess and the Grand Princess. Viking Cruises had been safe until now. However, they remain a fully private company and do not want to take any chances.
According to USA Today, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA) submitted a new plan to Vice President Mike Pence proposing enhanced measures be taken for both the cruise industry and its passengers.
USA Today states the plan proposes “boarding should be denied to any person over the age of 70 years unless they are able to present a doctor’s note verifying their fitness for travel on a cruise ship, according to a person familiar with the situation but not authorized to speak publicly.
Similarly, any person with a chronic medical condition who could be at an increased risk if they were to contract COVID-19 should be barred from getting on a cruise ship.”
“We’ll be reviewing that in the next 24 hours,” Pence said after confirming he received the proposal. “The President’s objective is for us to make cruise lines safer, even as we work with the cruise lines to ensure that — that no one in our particularly vulnerable population is — is going out on a cruise in the near future.”
It can’t be ignored that cruise ships are a prime location for mass coronavirus infection, regardless of the preventive measures put in place or the age of the passengers.
We at Inside the Magic are continuing to look to Disney Cruise Line for official updates regarding its policies.
As of now all of Disney’s U.S. at the Disneyland Resort and the World resort remain open.