Even though the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have allowed their “no sail” order to expire, it looks like it is still going to be a long time before we are allowed to get back on a Disney Cruise Line ship.
Right now, Disney has its entire fleet of cruise ships docked in Brest, France. But to get them back to American ports like Port Canaveral or Miami, there is a list of things they need to do before.
CDC Cruise Timeline
According to the framework released by the CDC,
“Within 60 days of the effective date of this Order, cruise ship operators must collect specimens from all crew currently onboard their cruise ships and have those specimens immediately transported and tested by a shoreside laboratory facility… To help ensure validity of sampling, testing, and test results, cruise ship operators must contact the CDC…at least 7 days prior to collecting speciments and conducting testing… During this 60-day period, cruise ship operators in coordination with CDC must develop onboard testing capabilities to test all symptomatic travelers (crew and passengers).”
Now, it is more than likely that Disney Cruise Line is already ahead of the game on this. But even if all goes according to plan, and Disney tests all of its now-displaced cruise ship crew members as fast as possible, they would not even be allowed to return to Port Canaveral for another 28 days.
Related: Disney’s Private Island is the Answer to the Cruise Line’s Return
The CDC’s framework states that in order to get a ship back into U.S. waters, Disney Cruise Line will have to submit an Enhanced Data Collection (EDC) Report form a minimum of 28 days before arrival. This EDC is used to conduct surveillance of the pandemic’s presence on the ship. After that, Disney Cruise Line will have to continue to submit the EDC form as well. Under the “no sail” order, the CDC required weekly EDC submissions from cruise operators.
This new framework went into effect on November 1, which means that if Disney Cruise Line submitted their EDC form and everything else yesterday — highly unlikely — they would still have to wait until nearly December to return home.
But then, they have to get approval from the CDC to do a simulated voyage with real-life volunteers (all ages 18 or older ) and this will be accompanied by another round of inspections and testing done under the watchful eye of the CDC. Also, the framework states that cruise ship operators cannot apply for approval to conduct a simulated voyage until all requirements related to protecting crew in U.S. waters have been satisfied.
Related: Possible Changes Coming to Disney’s Private Island, Castaway Cay
Disney Cruise Line Must Get Approval
After the simulated voyage, Disney Cruise Line will then finally be able to apply for the CDC’s brand new Conditional Sailing Certificate. But in order to be considered, Disney Cruise Line must be ready to submit the following:
This would also be after Disney Cruise Line has reached agreements with local ports of call on the matters such as emergency medical and housing for crew and passengers in the event of an outbreak on board.
Disney Cruise Line has already extended the suspension of all of its sailings through mid-December of this year. While the company looks to the 2021 and 2022 itineraries with positivity and confidence, the chance of any Disney Cruise Line voyages commencing in the remainder of 2020 becomes less and less likely in the face of the CDC’s 40 pages of bureaucracy.
Update: Disney Cancels All 2020 Sailings
Since the original publication of this article, we now know that Disney Cruise Line has canceled all remaining sailing in December 2020. However, they still have not released the highly-anticipated “return to sail” date.
Disney Cruise Line stated in an email:
Our team at Disney Cruise Line remains focused on the health and well-being of our Guests and team members. We are carefully reviewing the guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and working together with industry partners on a path to resuming operations. As we continue to refine our protocols for our eventual return to service, we have decided to cancel all sailings through December 2020.
We at Inside the Magic will continue to update our readers as more information on Disney Cruise Line’s return comes to light.
Looking to set sail with Disney Cruise Line in the future? Our friends at Academy Travel are here to help you navigate these uncertain times and plan the most magical voyage yet!