Recently, the CDC lifted its “No-Sail Order” after numerous extensions. Along with the end to the sailing ban came a new framework that is designed to get cruise ships back in the water.
As part of the framework, every ship in a cruise operator’s fleet — in this case, the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy, the Disney Magic, and the Disney Wonder — must receive a conditional sailing certification in order to hit the high seas with passengers onboard once again.
There is quite a process that ships must go through in order to receive the necessary certifications. As per the CDC framework:
“The public health measures in this framework reflect CDC’s considered views as to the minimum standards that must be in place prior to resuming passenger operations in a way that will mitigate the risk of COVID-19.”
What exactly does Disney Cruise Line have to do?
While the CDC is allowing every cruise operator to submit unique plans for their fleets, there are certain standards that they are requiring. This includes coronavirus testing for all Guest and crew members — Disney previously entered into CLIA’s 100% COVID testing agreement, so this was never in question for their cruise ships.
Furthermore, every Disney vessel must undergo test sailings — these may or may not leave the dock — so the CDC can ascertain whether or not the appropriate health and safety measures have been taken in staterooms and on public areas onboard a ship.
The CDC states that they:
…intend to take a phased approach to resuming passenger operations. These phases include (1) establishment of laboratory testing of crew onboard cruise ships in U.S. waters; (2) simulated voyages designed to test cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate COVID-19 on cruise ships; (3) a certification process; and (4) a return to passenger voyages in a manner that mitigates the risk of COVID-19 introduction, transmission, and spread…
The Walt Disney Company has already utilized a phased reopening process at its theme parks, including Walt Disney World Resort in Florida, so they should be well-prepared to implement similar measures on their cruise ship fleet.
Which Disney Cruise Ship is likely to sail first?
Due to the phased nature of sailing resumption — and the fact that every ship requires its own conditional sailing certificate — it is unlikely that all of Disney’s ships will hit the high seas again simultaneously.
At this time, it seems most likely that the Disney Wonder will be the first to go through the certification process and offer itineraries again.
There are a few reasons for this.
The Wonder was the first of Disney’s four cruise ships to leave dry dock and enter wet dock in Brest, France. This was confirmed on Instagram by 1st Officer Dave Krijgsman, who shared a photo of the Wonder with the caption, “She’s wet again.”
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She’s wet again. #Brest #france #Disneywonder #wheredreamscometrue #sailinginstagram #photography #firstofficer #officersofinstagram #dcl #disney #DisneyDream #disneycruiseline #Belowdeck #photooftheday #WDW #HDR #MickeyMouse #InstaDave #Cruise #DailyPicture #DCLjobs #Crewviews #DisneyCareers #WaltDisneyWorld #marine_lords #CaptainMinnie #CaptainMickey #CastawayCay #Sailor
Additionally, the Disney Wonder is one of Disney’s smaller ships, which could make it easier to prep in regard to health and safety — both it and the Disney Magic have 875 staterooms and a capacity of 2,700. To compare, the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy have 1,250 staterooms and accommodate 4,000 Guests.
The upcoming Triton class — which the Disney Wish will be part of — is set to be even larger.
Finally, the Disney Wonder frequently sails to the Bahamas. If it does sail ahead of the other three ships in Disney’s fleet, it would lend credence to the idea that Disney intends to use its private island, Castaway Cay, to help transition back to sailing normalcy.
What do you think? Which Disney Cruise Line ship will sail first?