Disney World has reopened, Disneyland is set to reopen soon, and some of Disney’s overseas parks are already open as well. But, one part of the Disney Company that hasn’t quite started up again is…Disney Cruise Line.
At the moment, Disney Cruise Line has canceled cruises through May, and it has also canceled select cruises through August. Disney has noted that it hopes to resume limited cruise operations this fall. But, other cruise lines have indicated that they plan to set sail again this summer. Now, we’ve got an update in terms of when you might be able to step aboard your next cruise from the United States.
Last year, the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention allowed its no-sail order regarding cruise lines to expire. In its place, the CDC issued a “Framework for Conditional Sailing Order” that remains in effect until November 1st, 2021. Under the new framework, 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
Disney’s CEO, Bob Chapek, has previously noted that these CDC regulations would delay Disney Cruise Line’s return to sailing more than they had hoped. But, Chapek noted that they were remaining positive and believed that there is a light at the end of the tunnel.
Most recently, Disney shared that it hopes to resume limited cruise operations this fall.
So, what’s going on with cruising now?
According to CNBC, the Cruise Lines International Association (CLIA), the trade group for for the world’s largest cruise lines, has called for the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention to “allow a phased-in resumption of sailings from U.S. ports in early July.” Members of CLIA include Disney Cruise Line, Carnival, Norwegian Cruise Line, Royal Caribbean International, and many others.
But, according to TradeWinds News, that request is not going to be granted by the CDC, at least not at this time. TradeWinds shares that the U.S. Government is upholding its COVID-driven restrictions on cruises.
In a recent statement, Chief Executive of CLIA Kelly Craighead said “Over the past eight months, a highly-controlled resumption of cruising has continued in Europe, Asia, and the South Pacific — with nearly 400,000 passengers sailing to date in more than 10 major cruise markets.” According to CLIA, there have been less than 50 COVID-19 cases reported on cruiseships.
Craighead noted that the CDC’s cruise framework was issued several months ago and doesn’t reflect the industry’s advancements and success in operating in other parts of the world, nor the current developments with vaccine distribution. Some argue that the fact that the CDC has not released additional guidance on resuming cruise operations effectively bans sailings in the U.S.
A spokesperson for the CDC has noted that “Returning to passenger cruising is a phased approach to mitigate the risk of spreading COVID-19. Details for the next phase of the CSO [conditional sailing order] are currently under interagency review.”
So, for the moment, it seems the CDC’s current framework will remain in place until November 1st, 2021. We’ll continue to keep an eye out for more updates with regards to cruising and Disney Cruise Line specifically. Stay tuned for the latest news!
Click here to see the Disney Cruise Line itineraries that have been announced for the summer of 2022!
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When would you like to go on a cruise again? Tell us in the comments!