Going to Disney World is absolutely fantastic, but we have SO missed sailing on Disney Cruise Line!
Cruises in the U.S. had previously been prevented from sailing due to a no-sail order issued by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, which had been extended through October 31st. But, now it appears that cruises may be able to sail again soon, provided certain conditions are met.
According to the Miami Herald, the CDC is allowing its no-sail order to expire in exchange for a conditional sail order. That means cruise lines could potentially start sailing again soon, but, first, cruise companies will need to “prove to the agency that COVID protocols are working with specific testing requirements and trial runs before passengers can return.”
The CDC’s “Four-Phase Plan” for a Conditional Sail Order hinges on the following four components:
1) Establishment of laboratory testing for crew in U.S. waters
2) Simulated voyages to test cruise ship operators’ ability to mitigate COVID risks
3) Certification for ships that meet specific requirements
4) Phased return to cruising
In order for a cruise line operator to be certified to sail as noted in the third component in the Four-Phase Plan, they must not sail or offer to sail any itineraries that last longer than 7 days. This could have an impact on future Disney Cruise Line sailings, depending on how long these recommendations are in place. Currently, Disney Cruise Line offers select 10- and 14- day itineraries in addition to their shorter trips.
The Miami Herald reports that Florida’s Governor Ron DeSantis has indicated that “he thinks cruising can be done safely and is working with the White House to get cruises restarted.” The Miami Herald also notes, however, that “Crew members are still contracting COVID-19 on cruise ships as the industry remains shut down.”
Even though the CDC no-sail order will be allowed to expire, changes likely won’t be immediate for most cruise lines. Aside from having to prove to the CDC that their COVID protocols are working, many cruise companies, including Disney Cruise Line, have already suspended all departures through at least early December.
Once cruising does return, it will likely look different. Cruise Lines International Association, of which Disney Cruise Line is a member, has already announced that negative coronavirus tests for all passengers and crew will be required prior to embarkation.
This seems to be in-step with the CDC’s recommendations, which state that “The cruise ship operator must conduct laboratory testing of all passengers and crew on the day of embarkation and the day of disembarkation in accordance with CDC technical instructions or orders.” We’ve also seen some cruise company reports make a number of safety recommendations to be adopted once cruising begins again.
Additionally, the CDC has issued a Level 3 warning against cruise travel because of the high risk of COVID-19 infection on cruise ships. But, with the formal CDC no-sail order lifted, cruise ships can begin working toward an eventual resumption of their sailings. We’ll keep an eye out for more updates and let you know what we see.
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Have you ever been on a Disney cruise? Let us know in the comments!