Disney Cruise Line will require all guests 12 years and up to be vaccinated on all upcoming cruises. Late last month, the cruise line announced that the requirements would only be for its cruises to the Bahamas, but it has now been expanded to all voyages in varying degrees.
The announcement comes with new testing requirements and the restart date for Disney Wonder out of San Diego, the next ship scheduled to start operations after Disney Fantasy on September 11.
New Restart Date for Disney Wonder
Disney Cruise Line has announced the restart for Disney Wonder after a long wait during the suspension of operations. Disney has also and made updates to its protocols to make sure guests and crew can remain safe when the ship resumes.
The ship will start operations on October 1 on an itinerary that will feature three-night sailings from San Diego with a stop at Ensenada, Mexico, and a day at sea, while 4-night sailings will feature two days at sea and a stop at Cabo San Lucas, Mexico.
These sailings are a different itinerary than originally scheduled by the cruise line. Guests booked on the 7-night cruise scheduled to sail on October 1 and the 5-night Disney Wonder voyages scheduled to sail on October 26 and October 31, 2021, will have their reservations automatically changed to 4-night itineraries.
Guests will be refunded the difference in cost of the voyage fare, taxes, fees, port expenses, and Vacation Protection Plan, if applicable, along with onboard credits if guests remain on their original sail date.
Disney Cruise Line has returned to the U.S. with Disney Dream’s 3- and 4-night itineraries out of Florida. Disney Fantasy will resume on September 11. The cruise line will only be visiting Castaway Cay for the time being with both ships.
Disney Wonder Protocols for October
With some of the highest percentages of guests under 18 in the industry, Disney Cruise Line had long hoped to sail with both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests onboard, mainly to accommodate families with kids.
However, the recent policy changes from the Bahamian government mean that the cruise line had to require all guests to be vaccinated on cruises to the Bahamas, just like other cruise lines. It’s also due to updated guidelines issued on August 27, 2021, from the U.S. Centers For Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).
For cruise departing from San Diego in October, Disney Cruise Line now requires all guests of 12 years and older to be fully vaccinated 14 days before boarding. Guests 11 years old and younger do not have to be vaccinated but should provide proof of a negative rapid PCR test or lab-based PCR test taken between 3 days and 24 hours before the cruise; rapid antigen tests are not accepted.
Besides being fully vaccinated, guests 12 years and older must also undergo a test before the cruise starts. This test must be done by the company’s third-party provider Inspire Diagnostics. Those guests that wish to disembark the vessel without children can do so without booking one of Disney’s Port Adventures. To disembark with children, guests will need to purchase a tour.
Disney Wonder Protocols for November 5 Sailing
On November 5, Disney Wonder will depart for a 14-day voyage that will take guests through the Panama Canal to Galveston from San Diego. Disney has made some significant changes for this voyage, requiring all guests of all ages to be fully vaccinated. This means that children 11 years of age and younger will likely not be able to sail.
For families impacted by this policy change, the cruise line is offering those who modify their travel date or cancel their 14-night Panama Canal sailing a 25% discount that can be applied to most future sailings taken by September 30, 2022.
More Changes and Testing at the Terminal
One more health policy change for guests onboard for cruises to the Bahamas between September 3 and November 1. The Bahamas requires all cruise ship passengers to be fully vaccinated or provide a negative PCR test if 11 years or younger.
To comply, Disney Cruise Line has now said that all guests 12 years and older should be fully vaccinated with an approved vaccine. Guests should upload their proof of vaccination to the Disney website; guests who refuse to provide proof will not be allowed to sail.
Guests younger than 12 should upload a negative PCR test taken between 3 days and 24 hours before the departure date. On sailings before September 13 guests younger than 12 are required to take a PCR test again before boarding.
On and after September 13 all guests of all ages, whether vaccinated or not, are required to take a test administered by Inspire Diagnostics at the terminal before boarding.
Disney Cruise Line has changed its return to service policies multiple times as it navigates its way through the varying requirements it has to deal with from varying governments. It is an issue that most cruise lines are dealing with daily and one that could change policies again if Mexico decides to go through with its vaccine mandate entry requirements.