The cruise line industry has been decimated by the effects of the coronavirus pandemic. As cruise lines are doing their best to recover, rebuild, and move forward, some companies are starting to do test cruises — these simulated cruises are required by the CDC, who recently lifted their “No-Sail Order.”
In order to make it easier for cruise lines to get passengers and crew members back onboard in a timely fashion, without sacrificing health and safety, the CDC has set out a framework that must be followed in order to obtain a conditional sailing certificate. Today, we are going to take a deep dive into that framework, and compare what cruise lines are doing as they gear up to running their first test cruises with what Disney Cruise Line could do in the future.
If you are an avid Disney Cruise Line fan, you will want to read this.
Here is the official CDC Order of Conditional Sailing, which we will cite from throughout this guide. We will reference the Cruise Ship Guidelines from the CDC website here.
The CDC is taking a phased approach to the phased reopening of cruise ships sailing. There are four phases of this,
- Ships in US waters will need to have onboard laboratory testing facilities for covid-19
- Cruise ship operators must hold simulated cruises to certify that they are able to handle an outbreak of coronavirus on their ships
- The certification
- Let passengers leave the ship in a way that they will not spread coronavirus.
Cruise ships are beginning ask for test cruise volunteers in order to get the necessary certification to begin sailing again. Disney Cruise Line must take part in these simulated cruises before their fleet can be certified.
Royal Caribbean has started to invite those who are willing volunteers to join what appears to be a lottery system to be one of the first passengers on the test cruises.
In order to complete the simulated sailing, only volunteers who are 18 years or older can participate. You cannot have any pre-existing conditions that would make you more vulnerable to COVID-19 and you will have to provide a variety of documents, including letters of health from your doctor.
So, as cruise lines start holding their simulated sailing, would you be a volunteer?
A simulated cruise will be a very interesting affair, potentially even staying docked or going out to sea very close to the dock and then returning. Masks, social distancing, enhanced safety measures, drastically changed dining, COVID testing, and temperature checks will undoubtedly be in place during these mock cruise voyages.
Certainly, those who volunteer will not only get a free, albeit altered experience, they will be helping the industry reopen in a safe way.
So, how and what will Disney Cruise Line’s simulated cruises look like. Furthermore, who will be invited?
As we said earlier, Royal Caribbean has begun asking for volunteers to participate in their simulation and thousands of volunteers already figuratively raised their hands participate. But with Disney, things are different. Disney will certainly want to do things the Disney way.
It is possible that Disney will send out invitations to those who are eligible to participate from their extensive pool of loyal customers. Perhaps even those who are members of the Castaway Club? We will have to keep our ear to the ground and see how Disney chooses to handle these simulations.
Thankfully, Disney Cruise Line has the luxury of operating their own private island which could be instrumental in their simulated cruise and certification process since it gives them more control over a port of call.
While Disney has canceled all of their remaining sailings for the year, it is possible that the volunteer process could start sooner rather than later in an effort to be able to sail as soon as possible in 2021. However, Disney has not confirmed when they will begin this process.
We know that Disney has been taking the health and safety of their Cast Members and Guests very seriously. This is evident in the daily operations of their theme parks. Since the theme parks have reopened, no outbreaks have been linked to the reopening of Walt Disney World. This is evidence that leads us to believe that the Disney Cruise Line will be going above and beyond with the safety of its passengers on their simulated trials.
So what do you think? Do you want to volunteer to be part of Disney Cruise Lines simulation sailing? Let us know in the comments!