As cruise lines continue to require negative COVID-19 test results before guests are permitted to set sail, it can be challenging for prospective passengers who have recently recovered from the illness to meet that requirement. Disney Cruise Line recently detailed on its Know Before You Go website its policy that allows guests recently recovered from COVID-19 to board the ship.
Recovered From COVID-19? You May Test Positive!
Because guests may continue to test positive for the SARS-CoV-2 virus for weeks after recovering from the illness, it may be impossible to obtain the required negative antigen or PCR test prior to sailing.
After recovering from COVID-19, remnants of the virus can remain in an individual’s upper respiratory tract for up to three months. That “dead virus” can still trigger a positive test result, but is no longer active and cannot replicate. Because the individual is not infectious, it is safe for them to travel and be around others without risk of transmitting the disease.
Yet because individuals recovered from the virus can still show a positive test, they would be denied embarkation for a cruise, even if they had – and recovered – from COVID-19 long before their sailing. To compensate for this, Disney Cruise Line has updated its “Know Before You Go” policies to permit guests to enjoy a Disney Cruise even with a positive result, but only with the proper documentation.
Disney Cruise Line to Permit Positive Test Results – If Recovered
According to the Disney Cruise Line website, guests recently recovered from COVID-19 may still be permitted to embark if they fall within the “90-Day-Recovered” designation and provide the appropriate documentation. The website states:
“If Guests have tested positive for SARS-CoV-2 within 11 to 90 days of their sail date, they may qualify to be considered as “90-Day-Recovered.” With the appropriate documentation and subsequent approval, Guests considered “90-Day-Recovered” are not required to participate in COVID-19 testing during the Pre-Sail, Embarkation or Disembarkation phases of their voyage.”
With the extreme numbers of cases in recent weeks due to the Omicron variant, many individuals with upcoming cruises may have had COVID-19 and could continue to test positive for weeks. This adaptation of Disney Cruise Line’s policy will permit guests to enjoy their magical, oceangoing getaway so long as they are no longer infectious.
Proper Documentation Required
In order to set sail under the “90-Day-Recovered” policy, guests must provide the appropriate documentation. This includes:
- A copy of a previous positive COVID-19 test result greater than 11 days and less than 90 days from the expected sail date. The test must have been antigen, NAAT, rapid PCR, or lab-based PCR, and must include the guest’s date of birth.
- A signed letter, on official letterhead with the name, address, and phone number of a licensed healthcare provider or public health official, stating that the guest has recovered from COVID-19 in the last 90 days and is clear for travel.
This documentation must be uploaded to Disney Cruise Line’s Safe Passage website before sailing, and guests should bring that documentation with them to the embarkation port as well.
Furthermore, if the guest has been vaccinated, they must also provide their proof of vaccination.
Onboard Protocols Remain
Regardless of a guest’s vaccination status or recovery from COVID-19, they must still follow all onboard health and safety protocols during their Disney cruise. This includes wearing face coverings indoors, adhering to physical distancing where necessary, and proper hand washing and sanitizing.
Disney ships are continuing to sail at reduced capacity, and additional onboard health and safety measures include enhanced cleaning, improved air filtration, and adapted activities.
Guests are also required to adhere to all local protocols at ports of call. These protocols may differ from those onboard the ships, and could be adjusted at any time as circumstances evolve.