CDC Advises Shutting Down Cruise Travel Amid COVID Pandemic

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The U.S. Centers for Disease Control & Prevention (CDC) has issued new guidance on cruise travel amid the surge of COVID-19 cases across the United States.

Regardless of vaccination status, the CDC says that everyone should avoid cruise travel.

“It is especially important that travelers who are at an increased risk of severe illness from COVID-19 avoid travel on cruise ships, including river cruises, worldwide, regardless of vaccination status,” the CDC said. 

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The CDC warned that the virus transmits easily in close quarters and that the chance of catching the virus is very high while on a cruise ship, regardless of vaccination status or if one has received a booster shot.

This comes on the heels of the news that cruise ships operating in U.S. waters have reported about 5,000 Covid cases to the CDC between December 15 – 29, a major spike compared to the first two weeks of the month when 162 cases were reported.

Disney Cruise Line
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The CDC recently identified 89 cruise ships with COVID-19 spreading quickly, nearly all of which have met the threshold for a formal investigation to be held. Among those, four ships operated by Walt Disney Co.’s Disney Cruise Line are now also under watch according to the official CDC website.

Just today, the ship Disney Fantasy was reportedly unable to allow Guests ashore out of an abundance of caution due to the “rising cases aboard.”

Disney Wonder
Credit: Disney Cruise Line

At the moment, Disney has not released a comment on the new CDC guidelines. Guests who are boarding a Disney cruising must adhere to the following protocols to sail on the Disney Magic, Disney Wonder, Disney Fantasy, or Disney Dream: 

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We are pleased to share our plans for a phased relaunch of Disney Cruise Line.

Currently, Disney Cruise Line continues to require all vaccine-eligible Guests (based on US eligibility requirements) to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at the time of sailing. This will be a requirement for all Guests (US and international) ages 5 and up for sailings beginning on or after January 13, 2022. Guests who are not vaccine-eligible because of age must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result (paid for by the Guest) taken between 3 days and 24 hours before their sail date. Guests ages 5 through 11 may complete this testing requirement in lieu of being fully vaccinated for sailings that depart before January 13, 2022. Guests 4 years of age and under must complete the testing requirements. The test should be a NAAT test, rapid PCR test or lab-based PCR test. Rapid antigen tests are not accepted.

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Amid this uncertainty, there is no clear answer on how Disney or other cruise liners will respond.

More on Disney Cruise Line

Soon, a new ship will be added to the DCL fleet!

The Disney Wish will be incredibly innovative and filled with magic from the first-of-its-kind AquaMouse, a Disney attraction at sea, to fantastic dining opportunities for the whole family (including restaurants themed to Frozen and Marvel, and even a Star Wars lounge for adults!), as we have reported in the past.

You will be greeted by Captain Minnie and Mickey Mouse, as well as teaming up with Moana to navigate their canoes beyond the reef, helping Tiana cook up the perfect pot of her father’s favorite gumbo, summoning Tinker Bell to give the Disney Wish an extra dash of pixie dust and diving into the East Australian Current (EAC) with Nemo and friends. Plus, so much more!

disney wish wdw
Credit: Disney

We also recently learned that Disney Wish will debut two new shows — Disney Seas the Adventure, featuring Captain Minnie, and Disney The Little Mermaid, a modern and innovative take on a young girl learning the power of her voice.

What do you think of the CDC’s new guidelines regarding cruises? 

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