As the COVID-19 pandemic has raged, Disney Cruise Line has been unable to set sail for over a year in a bid to keep both crew members and Guests safe.
Now, Disney is about to conduct its first test cruise out of Port Canaveral on the Disney Dream — the first step toward the cruise operator’s domestic return to sailing.
The U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) have outlined all of the steps that cruise companies must take in order to obtain their Conditional Sailing Certificates in the Conditional Sailing Order (CSO). One of the primary requirements is to conduct simulated cruises with volunteer passengers.
This will allow the CDC to ensure that all pandemic-era protocols are being followed, and give the crew a chance to familiarize themselves with these new health and safety procedures.
Although Disney has not officially announced when it will return to cruising in the United States — “Magic at Sea” staycation cruises are operating for U.K. residents only this summer — the company is planning a major return to the high seas in 2022.
In fact, Disney has just released new fall 2022 sailing itineraries. Guests will be able to enjoy journeys on the entire Disney Cruise Line fleet — the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy, the Disney Magic, the Disney Wonder, and the new Triton Class Disney Wish, which will take her maiden voyage in June 2022.
Per a Disney Parks Blog post today, Disney Cruise Line travelers can look forward to visiting a number of popular ports of call around the world next fall:
In fall 2022, the Disney Wish and Disney Fantasy will embark on guest-favorite itineraries out of Port Canaveral, Florida, while the Disney Dream continues to sail from Miami.
The Disney Wish will continue its inaugural season with its first-ever fall and holiday sailings, offering a series of three- and four-night voyages to the Bahamas, while the Disney Fantasy will offer six-, seven- and eight-night vacations to the eastern and western Caribbean.
The Disney Dream will take guests on four- and five-night Bahamian itineraries and five-night Caribbean cruises to either Grand Cayman or Cozumel, Mexico.
The post continued, sharing some additional ports that will be available. The Disney Magic will travel from San Juan, Puerto Rico, in early November for a seven-night Southern Caribbean sailing to Antigua, St. Lucia, Aruba, and Bonaire. Then, the Magic will take a six-night trip to St. Thomas and Falmouth, Jamaica.
Additionally, the Magic will be in New York City in September for Halloween on the High Seas sailings to Bermuda and Canada.
Disney is certainly planning a major DCL return in 2022, but the question still remains — when (and where) will Disney Cruise Line officially return to sailing out of the United States?
What about when Disney returns to sailing?
There is a high likelihood when Disney initially returns to sailing, Disney could opt to take Guests to only one port, their private island Castaway Cay. Many cruise operators — including Royal Caribbean, Norwegian, and Disney Cruise Line — have been urged by their fans to consider going back to their own islands before returning to other ports. This suggestion has even been featured in some CDC documents where cruise fans were able to provide their opinions about a safe return to sailing.
Therefore, it is certainly possible that Disney will only offer Bahamian cruises with stops at Castaway Cay when they first begin sailing again following the cruise industry’s pandemic shutdown.
Again, please note that Disney has not confirmed anything about which ports will be available when cruising recommences. However, it would make sense for Disney to consider Castaway Cay as the only port of call initially when Disney sets sail out of Florida again.
Taking passengers to a single port where The Walt Disney Company controls all aspects of the experience could, however, be beneficial for both the company and nervous Guests.
Many people are worried about traveling again, even if they have received the COVID-19 vaccine, so going to a Disney-owned port where the health and safety protocols are transparent and trustworthy could ease anxious vacationers’ minds.
Furthermore, for Disney, having the ability to know what procedures are in place could eliminate concerns about Disney Cruise Line Guests contracting COVID-19 — or even other illnesses — at ports of call they do not operate.
Visit the official Disney Cruise Line website for the latest updates.
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