There is now some good news for Disney Cruise Line and other cruise operators. New statements from the CDC detail when cruising may finally begin again in the U.S. To date, no cruise operators have satisfied the requirements of the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order and domestic cruising has been at a standstill for over a year.
Here is what the CDC said in new statements released to USA Today, and what this could mean for Disney Cruise Line.
The CDC has stated that cruising out of American ports can begin as soon as mid-July if 95% of the passengers are fully vaccinated. These are new statements today, the previous updates to the CSO, or Conditional Sailing Order were on April 2. Here is the official statement the CDC gave to USA Today:
“We acknowledge that cruising will never be a zero-risk activity and that the goal of the CSO’s phased approach is to resume passenger operations in a way that mitigates the risk of COVID-19 transmission onboard cruise ships and across port communities,”
The CDC went on in additional statements to USA Today to confirm mid-July as the earliest possible cruising date. That is only if the requirements of the Conditional Sailing Order are met.
The CDC went on to say that:
“CDC looks forward to continued engagement with the industry and urges cruise lines to submit Phase 2A port agreements as soon as possible to maintain the timeline of passenger voyages by mid-July,”
As we previously stated, no cruise line operator — including Disney Cruise Line — in the United States has obtained the conditional sailing certificates that are necessary to once again set sail. Prior to getting these certificates, all ships in a fleet were required to conduct “test cruises” with volunteers.
Now, the CDC has issued further updates to that Conditional Sailing Order with the hope that cruise operators will be able to more easily get back to doing business.
This new guidance completely removes the need for test cruises. It seems that this is a major move from the previous update to the Conditional Sailing Order, which caused Disney Cruise Line to cancel even more sailings. Here are the latest updates to the CSO:
- Ships can bypass the required simulated test voyages carrying volunteers and jump to sailings with paying passengers if 98% of crew and 95% of passengers are fully vaccinated.
- CDC will review and respond to applications from cruise lines for simulated voyages within 5 days, a review previously expected to take 60 days.
- CDC will update its testing and quarantine requirements for passengers and crew on sailings with paying passengers to align with the CDC’s guidance for fully vaccinated people. So, for example, instead of taking a PCR lab test ahead of boarding vaccinated passengers can take a rapid antigen test upon embarkation.
- CDC has clarified that cruise ship operators may enter into a “multi-port agreement” rather than a single port agreement as long as all port and local authorities sign the agreement.
- The CDC has clarified guidance on quarantine guidelines for passengers who may be exposed to or contract COVID-19. For example, local passengers may be able to drive home and passengers who have traveled by air to cruise may quarantine in a hotel.
This is the first time the CDC has added any language about the vaccine to the Conditional Sailing Order. You can read the entire Conditional Sailing Order here. This also allows any cruise ship to access ports more easily and gives vaccinated passengers fewer COVID-19 testing requirements.
Disney Cruise Line
This announcement from the CDC comes at a crucial time for the Disney Cruise Line as the company is gearing up to launch a brand new ship next summer, the Disney Wish.
New guidance in the CSO could allow Disney Cruise Line to return to sailing with passengers and will help them begin the process of bringing back and training staff ahead of the launch of what will be the largest ship in the fleet.
The Disney Wish is set to have its maiden voyage in June of 2022, it will sail 3 and 4-night cruises out of Port Canaveral. Port Canaveral is an hour away from Walt Disney World making this a great location for Disney fans to spend their vacation on sea and land.
At this time, Disney is requiring vaccinations for Guests onboard its U.K. “Disney Magic at Sea” staycation cruises in Summer 2021. However, Disney has not yet announced whether or not vaccines will be required for domestic cruise passengers in the United States.
Are you looking forward to cruising on Disney Cruise Line in 2021? Let us know in the comments!