Disney Cruise Line will not sail with passengers until after January 2021 — all remaining cruises through the first of the year have been canceled. As it and the rest of the cruise industry attempt to regain their sea legs, there is still no official “resailing date.” There is still a long way to go and there are stark reminders of how important the cruising industry is to Florida, especially Disney’s home of Port Canaveral.
“Since the first day of CLIA members’ voluntary suspension of operations in March, the cruise industry has remained steadfast in its commitment to making science-led, people-first decisions,” Bari Golin-Blaugrund, vice president of strategic communications for The Cruise Line International Association (CLIA), said to Florida Today. “We will continue to be guided by these filters as we evaluate next steps, including the timing of resumption.”
Disney Cruise Line individually released a statement saying, “Our team at Disney Cruise Line remains focused on the health and well-being of our guests and team members. We continue to carefully review the guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, and are working toward resuming operations.”
Even though the CDC’s no-sail order has been lifted, cruise lines still have to adhere to very strict protocols and the CDC has classified cruising as a “Level 4 Travel Alert” which includes the following:
- The CDC recommends that all people avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, because the risk of COVID-19 on cruise ships is very high.
- It is especially important that people with an increased risk of severe illness avoid travel on cruise ships.
- Cruise passengers are at increased risk of person-to-person spread of infectious diseases, including COVID-19, and outbreaks of COVID-19 have been reported on cruise ships.
- Passengers who decide to go on a cruise should get tested three to five days after their trip and stay home for seven days after travel. Even if they test negative, passengers should stay home for the full seven days. If they don’t get tested, it’s safest to stay home for 14 days after they travel.
You can read more about the protocols Disney Cruise Line will need to follow in order to resume sailing by clicking the link below:
But adherence to the CDC’s regulations has been — and continues to be — costly for cruise operators. According to Florida Today, the Cruise Lines International Association estimates that a cruise industry shutdown through March 2021 would mean a loss of $39.0 billion in U.S. economic activity, 301,300 U.S. jobs, and $16.5 billion in wages. It is also estimated that in 2019, over 60% of the 13.79 million cruise passengers departing from American ports left from Florida, with just over 16% of that number departing from Port Canaveral. And, that impact has not gone unnoticed.
We at Inside the Magic shared a story about cruise workers rallying at Port Canaveral demanding the CDC let people go sailing again so they could finally go back to work.
There is good news, however. Despite the restrictions, further delays, and frustrations, Disney Cruise Line has already made great strides towards its own recovery. The Disney Wonder already returned to Port Canaveral and has made its first journey back to Disney’s private island destination Castaway Cay. The Disney Dream is also on its way back home across the Atlantic.
The next steps for both ships include working towards getting approval from the CDC to begin test cruises with volunteer passengers, as well as preparing ports of call like Castaway Cay to meet all of the new CDC requirements.
All ships within any cruise line’s fleet must obtain CDC-authorized ‘Conditional Sailing Certificates’ before they are allowed to set sail with passengers. In Disney’s case, this means the Disney Dream, the Disney Magic, the Disney Fantasy, and the Disney Wonder must all get their own certifications and will, therefore, be unlikely to all resume their regularly scheduled itineraries simultaneously.
Both Disney Cruise Line and its parent company, The Walt Disney Company, have confirmed that its three new Triton-Class ships will still be completed and pressed into service, beginning with the Disney Wish.
Port Canaveral itself has also remained busy as it pushed forward with the remodeling of the Disney Cruise Line terminal which includes expansions to accommodate the larger ships.
A very prosperous 2019 has also allowed Disney Cruise Line officials to remain very optimistic about weathering this storm and recovering, stating:
“The Company’s profit for the financial year is $406,170,000 (2018: $405,197,000). The Directors consider the results for the year and the financial condition of the Company at the end of the year to be satisfactory and look forward to the future with optimism.”
Disney Cruise Line still has sailings planned for the remainder of 2021 and 2022. If you want to be one of the first passengers to climb aboard a Disney cruise ship, our friends at Academy Travel are standing by ready to help! Click here to get started and to receive your free, no-obligation quote today!