This article has been updated since publishing.
Going on any vacation at the moment may be nerve-wracking for some as the pandemic continues to surge. With the Omicron variant spreading like wildfire globally, numbers have continued to skyrocket. Now, it seems Disney Cruise Line is being affected by the virus as Guests cannot debark one of the ships.
One of the most enticing things about a Disney Cruise is not only the ship itself but the fact that Guests aboard are able to see different islands and parts of the world while still experiencing the magic of Disney. From their private island, Castaway Cay, to other areas in the Caribbean and more, there is so much opportunity to explore while aboard the ships!
At the moment, Guests must follow the following protocols to said 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.
However, even with such strict precautions and increased sterilization aboard the ships, COVID is still getting in the way of sailing for Disney. Disney Cruise Line Blog reported that “On Thursday, December 30, 2021, the Disney Fantasy docked at St. Thomas where Guests learned they would not be permitted ashore due to an ‘abundance of caution’ as a result of both an increase in COVID-19 cases on in St Thomas and a small number of fully vaccinated cast & crew members and passengers which is reported as less than 1% of those on board which are in isolation for COVID-19.
The publication continued to note that the Carnival Magic is docked next to the Fantasy and has had Guests debark the ship. Because of this, it may appear that the numbers of positive COVID cases aboard the Fantasy are unacceptable. That being said, that is purely speculative based on the other ship having Guests seemingly debark without issue.
The report continues:
Captain Jason reported over the ship intercom there are passengers in quarantine. It has been reported to us by another guest onboard that there are less than 1% of crew and passengers (all vaccinated) isolated with COVID-19.
We also learned, guests will receive a 20% future cruise and $200 dollar onboard credit.
The Disney Fantasy is on a 7-night Eastern Caribbean Cruise and scheduled to return to Port Canaveral on Sunday. It seems that the Castaway Cay debarkation is still on track for Guests aboard the ship.
Inside the Magic spoke with a Disney spokesperson who clarified the situation:
“The Disney Fantasy did not call on St. Thomas today due to both an increase in COVID-19 cases on the island and a small number of fully vaccinated Crew Members and Guests – less than 1% of those on board – in isolation for COVID-19. Those affected by these breakthrough cases are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, and we are following CDC protocols for managing cases on board. We continue to operate with multiple layers of health and safety protocols in place, such as requiring vaccinations, PCR tests at the port prior to embarkation for all guests, testing of our Crew multiple times per week, enhanced cleaning protocols and a requirement that masks be worn in all indoor spaces.”
As cases increase around the world, the issue of debarkation has been something all cruise lines are experiencing, especially in St. Thomas, which has denied multiple other ships this week. Disney continues to be the only cruise line that uses PCR testing for all Guests on the day of embarkation at the port. As a result of these efforts, Disney has identified a number of positive cases that they have prevented from coming aboard the ship. In addition, all Guests 12 and over must be fully vaccinated to sail, and by January 13, this will be expanded to all Guests ages five and over.
Disney’s Crew is fully vaccinated, and booster shots are offered to those who are eligible per CDC guidelines. Plus, Disney continues to require masks in all indoor spaces, enforce social distancing, and operate with enhanced cleaning, among other protocols and will continue to do so. Disney is also conducting surveillance testing of their Crew Members multiple times a week to enable them to quickly identify and enact the appropriate protocols when a case is identified.
And in Disney fashion, as we have also noted above, they are taking care of their Guests during these unprecedented times! In consideration of their Guests on the Fantasy, Disney is automatically applying a $200 onboard credit per stateroom and will provide a 20% future cruise discount.
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!
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.
Are you comfortable sailing on Disney Cruise Line ships yet? Let us know in the comments below!
Let the expert team at Academy Travel help you plan your next magical vacation to Walt Disney World Resort’s four theme parks — Magic Kingdom, EPCOT, Disney’s Animal Kingdom, and Disney’s Hollywood Studios — and the Disney Springs shopping and dining district!