Disney Cruise Line is loosening its mask policy for sailings starting on March 11, but there will still be some masks required on board. Booked guests should stay updated on current policies so they are properly prepared for their magical oceangoing getaway.
Disney to Lift Mask Mandate
In updated COVID-19 guidelines on their website, Disney Cruise Line has announced that it will be relaxing its onboard mask mandate for sailings departing from U.S. ports as of March 11, 2022. The guidelines state, “For sailings originating from a U.S. port of departure beginning March 11, 2022, face coverings will be optional in most indoor locations throughout our ships.”
There are exceptions, however. All guests ages 2 and up, including guests who are fully vaccinated, must continue to wear masks in the Walt Disney Theater – the large, main lounge where full-cast live productions are held. This theater is often filled to capacity, so it makes sense that precautions would continue to be in place at the venue, as social distancing will be impossible.
Prior to March 11, all guests ages 2 and up, regardless of vaccination status, must wear masks in all indoor areas, except in their staterooms or while actively eating and drinking. On board Disney ships, “actively eating and drinking” is defined as remaining stationary and maintaining an appropriate distance from other guests.
At all times, regardless of onboard protocols, guests must comply with local COVID-19 health and safety protocols at ports of call, which may include mask wearing and other guidelines. Masks are not required in outdoor areas onboard Disney ships.
Young Guests Must Still Wear Masks at Times
Because children under 5 years old are not eligible to be vaccinated at this time, there are still mask requirements onboard for the youngest Disney Cruise Line travelers even after March 11. Guests under 5 years old are still required to wear face coverings in Youth Activity spaces, where many children will be together and closely interacting.
Masks will also be required for young guests in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique, where magical makeovers and Princess-in-training sessions are held.
Guests who have not been vaccinated, including young cruisers ineligible for COVID-19 vaccinations, are still encouraged, though not required, to wear masks in indoor areas after March 11.
Guidelines Follow Other Cruise Lines
Disney Cruise Line is one of the last major cruise lines to relax mask requirements as COVID-19 cases are decreasing worldwide after the Omicron variant surge. This is very understandable, however, as Disney sails with many more children on its ships, particularly children under 5 years old who are currently ineligible for vaccination.
Royal Caribbean International was the first to remove its mask mandate, effective February 25, though, like Disney Cruise Line, children at youth programs are still required to wear masks. Carnival Cruise Line and Norwegian Cruise Line both removed their mask mandates, effective March 1, and many other lines have implemented similar guidelines.
All cruise lines require that passengers must comply with local guidelines in all ports of call. Furthermore, masks are still required in cruise terminals during both embarkation and debarkation.
As all cruise travelers have seen in recent weeks and months, health and safety protocols will continue to be updated and changed as the pandemic situation continues to evolve.
While the relaxation of mask mandates on multiple cruise lines is a welcome sign to many guests, all passengers should remain vigilant and stay updated about vaccine requirements, pre-cruise testing options, onboard protocols, and other guidance for any cruise they have booked.