On October 30, 2020, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) issued the original Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) — a framework that outlined provisions for cruise ships to get back on the high seas as soon as possible amid the COVID-19 pandemic.
Among the requirements were a variety of health and safety protocols that cruise operators — including all major cruise lines like Disney Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line, Carnival Cruise Line, and Royal Caribbean Cruise Line — had to follow in order to be granted “Conditional Sailing Certificates” for each of their ships.
Although Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has fought hard against the CSO’s cruise industry restrictions — even involving the Supreme Court of the United States, at one point — the CDC has just announced an extension of the Order into January 2022.
Per the CDC’s official announcement:
CDC extended the Framework for Conditional Sailing Order (CSO) with minor modifications. The CDC Director signed the Temporary Extension & Modification of the CSO on October 25, 2021; it is effective upon expiration of the current CSO on November 1, 2021.
The expiration of the Secretary of Health and Human Services’ declaration that COVID-19 constitutes a public health emergency;
The CDC Director rescinds or modifies the order based on specific public health or other considerations; or
January 15, 2022 at 12:01 am EDT.
After the expiration of the Temporary Extension & Modification of the CSO, CDC intends to transition to a voluntary program, in coordination with cruise ship operators and other stakeholders, to assist the cruise ship industry to detect, mitigate, and control the spread of COVID-19 onboard cruise ships.
As of July 23, 2021, the CSO and accompanying measures, such as technical instructions, are nonbinding recommendations for cruise ships arriving in, located within, or departing from a port in Florida. CDC is continuing to operate the CSO as a voluntary program for such ships that choose to follow the CSO measures voluntarily.
At this time, Disney Cruise Line has not specifically commented on this extension, but given that only minor updates were made, the CSO extension is highly unlikely to impact the Guest experience on any of the existing ships in the DCL fleet — the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy, the Disney Magic, and the Disney Wonder.
A Disney Cruise Line Update
Although 2021 cruises may look quite different due to the ongoing pandemic, Disney is planning a huge return to sailing in 2022. The fleet’s first Triton Class cruise ship, the Disney Wish, will take her maiden voyage in June 2022.
The Wish will be the fifth ship in the DCL fleet, joining the Disney Dream, the Disney Fantasy, the Disney Magic, and the Disney Wonder. She will be based in Port Canaveral.