Today, May 13, the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued revisions to their COVID-19 face mask guidelines for fully vaccinated persons.
According to the new regulations:
- You can resume activities that you did prior to the pandemic.
- You can resume activities without wearing a mask or staying 6 feet apart, except where required by federal, state, local, tribal, or territorial laws, rules, and regulations, including local business and workplace guidance.
- If you travel in the United States, you do not need to get tested before or after travel or self-quarantine after travel.
- You need to pay close attention to the situation at your international destination before traveling outside the United States.
- You do NOT need to get tested before leaving the United States unless your destination requires it.
- You still need to show a negative test result or documentation of recovery from COVID-19 before boarding an international flight to the United States.
- You should still get tested 3-5 days after international travel.
- You do NOT need to self-quarantine after arriving in the United States.
- If you’ve been around someone who has COVID-19, you do not need to stay away from others or get tested unless you have symptoms.
- However, if you live or work in a correctional or detention facility or a homeless shelter and are around someone who has COVID-19, you should still get tested, even if you don’t have symptoms.
During The Walt Disney Company’s second-quarter earnings call, which was also held today, CEO Bob Chapek confirmed that Walt Disney World Resort in Florida has already begun increasing capacity in accordance with state and federal regulations and that this new face mask guidance is “very big news” for the company.
The implication is, of course, that Disney World will begin phasing out masks for vaccinated individuals — though it is important to note that Disney has not confirmed when, or if, face masks will become completely optional. At this time, Disney Parks around the world are not requiring vaccine passports for entry, so it remains to be seen how officials will determine who has been vaccinated and who has not been.
All this to say, there is still a major question mark in The Walt Disney Company’s Parks, Experiences and Products division — Disney Cruise Line.
Sailings on the entire DCL fleet — the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy, the Disney Magic, and the Disney Wonder — have been suspended for over a year, with no domestic return date announced.
However, today’s new CDC guidelines could help the cruise industry get back on the high seas faster. Officially, the CDC only notes that vaccinated persons need to wear masks on “planes, buses, trains, and other forms of public transportation traveling into, within, or out of the United States, and in U.S. transportation hubs such as airports and stations.”
This could, theoretically, include cruise ships, but does not specifically list them as a form of public transit. Cruise operators are in a unique position since passengers are paying to be on board and do not require the service of the ship for everyday transportation — this differentiates a cruise liner, such as Disney’s fleet of ships, from a public bus or even a commercial flight.
At the time of publication, the CDC’s Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) has not been updated to reflect today’s pandemic guideline changes.
If, however, updates are made to the CSO, it could help all domestic cruise operators return to sailing sooner while keeping Guests and crew members safe.
If you are a resident or citizen of the United Kingdom, you may be able to take advantage of the “Disney Magic at Sea” cruises that will be held this summer! These “trips to nowhere” with no ports of call are not legally allowed in the United States but are available to those in the U.K.
If you want to book one of these itineraries, visit the official Disney Cruise Line website. Be advised that all passengers must be vaccinated and present a negative COVID-19 test prior to embarkation. These restrictions only apply to the existing U.K. “Magic at Sea” cruises.
It is not yet known what COVID-19 protocols — including vaccinations — will be required for U.S. Disney Cruise Line travelers. It is, however, worth noting that Disney signed a Cruise Line International Association (CLIA) agreement that requires 100% COVID testing for both passengers and crew members worldwide.
It is also worth noting that Disney has not announced what — if any — specific pandemic protocols will be in place when the newest Disney Cruise Line ship, the Triton Class Disney Wish, sets sail on her maiden voyage in summer 2022.
What do you think? Will Disney Cruise Line be able to set sail again faster now that face mask restrictions are loosening in the United States?
Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next Disney vacation! Whether you want to experience the magic of a Disney Park or the relaxation of a Disney Cruise Line getaway, they can help. Contact them about everything from Bahamian cruises out of Port Canaveral to Disney Alaska cruises when sailing to the Last Frontier resumes!