Disney Cruise Line’s triumphant return to the sea could be tarred with litigation. The cruise ship fleet, likely cruises using Port Canaveral in Florida, has been listed as “under review” by the Florida Department of Health. This comes in the wake of possible vaccine requirement violations in relation to Governor Ron DeSantis’ Landmark Legislation that was signed into law earlier this year.
The Disney Cruise Line had a somewhat staggered return to the ocean. Beginning back in July with Disney Magic at Sea — a new “staycation” experience for Guests in the United Kingdom, Disney’s cruise ship fleet has resumed its sailings from the United States. The Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy, and Disney Wonder are all back in operation with 3 to 4-night itineraries (and 7-night and longer for Disney Fantasy from October, 9) following a huge hiatus caused by the effects of the pandemic.
Earlier this year, Disney trialed test cruises in domestic waters in anticipation of bringing back Guests to their favorite sailing destinations, meaning it’s likely that the cruise industry’s rebound has proven a welcome relief for both parties. Fans of the Disney Cruise Line can now once again take a trip to places like Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay — for Bahamian and Caribbean cruises. In addition, the Disney Cruise Line ship, Disney Magic, will also set sail with an itinerary in the U.S. from October, 28.
When Disney announced its return, there were a plethora of COVID-19 protocols, and vaccine requirements put in place to ensure Guests have the safest experience while aboard one of their cruise ships using guidance from the “US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other medical experts”. Disney Cruise Line‘s requirements, in part, state:
For all sailings, Guests 12 years of age and older must be fully vaccinated and take a COVID-19 test upon embarkation. Guests 11 years old and under are not required to be vaccinated but must take a pre-trip NAAT test, rapid PCR test or lab-based PCR test for COVID-19, as well as a rapid COVID-19 test upon embarkation.
However, due to the embarkation port — Port Canaveral — being used for both Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy sailings, Disney Cruise Line now faces potential fines for their stance on requesting vaccination status from Guests.
Per Click Orlando:
Florida’s Department of Health said just because the entities are listed, doesn’t mean they are in violation. They have not said yet when those entities will be notified or when fines will start being collected.
The Florida Department of Health sent News 6 the following statement:
“Under the rule, the Florida Department of Health now has the authority to enforce penalties on applicable entities and institutions that require documentation of vaccination or post-exposure status. If you believe you are aware of a violation, you may submit a complaint and the Department will review, assess and investigate as warranted. Applicable entities that are found to be in violation will be fined.”
Ron DeSantis signed in the law that prohibited entities from requiring vaccination status back in May. His office said:
“In Florida, your personal choice regarding vaccinations will be protected and no business or government entity will be able to deny you services based on your decision. I’d like to thank President Simpson, Speaker Sprowls and the Florida Legislature for getting this legislation got across the finish line.”
The news goes on to clarify the laws that have been created:
This law prohibits the following entities from requiring documentation of COVID-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery:
“A business may not require patrons or customers to provide any documentation certifying COVID-19 vaccination or post-infection recovery to gain access to, entry upon, or service from the business operations.
The article also reminds people that government and education establishments are also under the new vaccination legislation. The instating of Florida law — to charge these entities $5,000 per person asked to prove vaccination status — went into effect on July 1, 2021, meaning Disney could face huge fines when considering the number of Guests boarding their cruise ships for vacation itineraries out of Port Canaveral.
At this time Disney has not commented on the review. As the Florida Department of Health clearly states, just because the entity is under review does not mean they have necessarily violated any laws.
Regardless of this potential looming lawsuit, Disney has been joyously sharing updates about their newest ship, the Triton Class Disney Wish — which will feature Disney characters, elaborate staterooms, Frozen and Marvel dining experiences, and a Star Wars: Hyperspace Lounge. Disney has also just released some early 2023 itineraries, you can check those out here!
How do you feel about Disney’s stance on vaccination requirements? Let us know in the comments down below