When will Disney Cruise Line sail again? This was the big question we all asked during the height of the pandemic. Well, we are finally sailing again! But things are, shall we say, a bit different. And now we must answer the question of what to expect on Disney Cruise Line in the coming months.
August 9, 2021, marked the return of Disney Cruise Line sailings. This pandemic certainly hasn’t been kind to the cruise industry, but it appears there may be light at the end of the tunnel (finally) for a return to sailing. This return does come with some changes, however. Things will not be “normal” as it was prior to the pandemic. But for Disney Cruise Line fans, this return to sailing is certainly good news!
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**Disney Cruise Line is back to sailing all four of its ships in the United States, but restrictions are in place and vacations have been modified for safety. Be sure to visit their official website for updated information to guide your vacation planning!
What is Currently Suspended?
As of October 2021, all four ships are back to sailing in the United States! Don’t forget that sailings on the brand new Disney Wish are still scheduled to begin June 9, 2022.
Disney has also added European cruises, as well as cruises lasting longer than 7 nights to their itineraries in 2022 and beyond. So it is safe to say, things are looking up for Disney Cruise Line fans!
Is It Even Worth Booking a Cruise Right Now?
This can be a difficult question to answer. Because in the end, your cruise could be canceled. (Although this is becoming less likely as time passes.) Disney has made some adjustments to its cancellation policies in order to make it financially safer to book.
- Final payments aren’t due until 60 days prior to sailing for departures through September 30, 2022, for guests in unrestricted stateroom categories.
- Also through September 2022, the cancellation fee schedule has been relaxed.
- The cancellation fee schedule has been relaxed to beginning 59 days prior to sailing (instead of as early as 119 days prior to sailing) in non-Suite and non-Concierge categories.
- For sailings that start or end in a non-US port aboard the Disney Magic from May 8, 2022, through May 28, 2022, and aboard the Disney Wonder from April 21, 2022, through May 30, 2022, the cancellation fee schedule is relaxed to 29 days prior to sailing.
- Reservations for Inside, Outside and Verandah Categories with Restrictions remain nonrefundable and nontransferable.
- For any sailings on or before May 31, 2022, you can change your sail date up to 15 days prior to departure. Your new sail date must be before May 31, 2023, and you cannot change your reservation back to the original sail date after making these changes. Unfortunately, standard air cancellation fees will apply if you booked your flights through Disney Cruise Line.
- Guests with concerns about COVID-19 symptoms or exposure can receive a full refund within 14 days of the sailing (right up to the date of embarkation) without cancellation fees or they can apply their cruise fare toward a future sail date. Scenarios include having symptoms of COVID-19, having a temperature of 100.4°F or greater, having had known exposure to a person with COVID-19 within the previous 14 days, or if you have tested positive for COVID-19. Your new sail date must be before September 30, 2022, and you cannot change your reservation back to the original sail date after making these changes.
- Also worth noting, future cruise credits due to canceling cannot be applied to the Disney Wish maiden voyage.
**Disney updates their policies regularly, so be sure to visit their official website for more information.
What to Expect on Disney Cruise Line
This seems to be the big question right now. Are masks required? Do I need to have a vaccine? Is testing a requirement? What will dining and entertainment look like?
Here’s what we know so far about what to expect on Disney Cruise Line…
Vaccine and Testing Requirements
- Disney is currently requiring all guests to be fully vaccinated if 5 years or older. In order to board the ship, guests must provide proof of vaccination by uploading their vaccination card to the Safe Passage by Inspire website no later than 24 hours before their sailing.
- Guests who are not vaccine-eligible because of age must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result (paid for by the guest) taken between 3 days and 24 hours before their sail date. This includes all guests 4 years of age and under. The test should be a NAAT test, rapid PCR test, or lab-based PCR test. *Rapid antigen tests are not accepted.
- All guests regardless of vaccination status will also be required to take a rapid PCR COVID-19 test administered by Inspire Diagnostics at the terminal prior to boarding. Guests with positive COVID-19 test results, as well as those in their travel party, will be denied boarding. Disney Cruise Line will cover the cost of this test.
- All unvaccinated guests on 5-night and longer sailings will be required to take an additional COVID-19 antigen test (paid for by Disney Cruise Line) on the ship the day before debarking.
- Guests on consecutive, back-to-back sailings, regardless of age and vaccination status, will be required to undergo an additional COVID-19 antigen test administered by Inspire Diagnostics at the terminal after debarking the ship following their first cruise and before reboarding the ship for their second cruise.
Additional Safety Measures
**Mask Update: For sailings originating from a US port of departure beginning March 11, 2022, face coverings will be optional in most indoor locations throughout Disney’s ships. Guests ages 2 and up, regardless of vaccination status, will still be required to wear face coverings in the Walt Disney Theatre. Guests under 5 years of age who are currently ineligible to be vaccinated will be required to wear face coverings in Youth Activity spaces and in the Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique. Face coverings may be required in ports of call based on local government requirements.
- Through March 10, 2022, all guests ages 2 and up are required to wear face coverings indoors, except when in their staterooms, actively eating or drinking, or taking a photo (while stationary and maintaining an appropriate physical distance). Face coverings will not be required when outdoors on the ship or at Disney Castaway Cay.
- Some experiences have been “reimagined” including character interactions, Broadway-style shows, and modified dining experiences.
- Character interactions will still take place from a distance.
- Buffets and other all-you-care-to-eat locations will feature “service attendants” rather than allowing guests to serve themselves.
- Dining room seating times will be staggered to promote physical distancing, and guests will be assigned to the same table and service team for dinner, with one travel party per table. Digital menus will also be utilized. (Royal Court Royal Tea will also be seating one travel party per table.)
- There will be one Broadway-style live show for each itinerary. They will perform multiple times to allow for physical distancing.
- There will be fireworks! (Yay!) To allow for physical distancing, fireworks will be scheduled twice on each itinerary.
- Water slides, pools, and splash pads will all be open with limited capacity.
- Deck parties have been temporarily suspended.
- Youth activities for ages 3-12 will be available by reservation to allow for reduced capacity. (No reservations required for tween and teen clubs.) Guests can book one session per day per child on a first-come, first-served basis. Only one parent or guardian will be allowed to drop off or pick up.
- “it’s a small world” nursery is temporarily suspended.
- The spa and salon will be open and taking reservations for massages, acupuncture, body therapies, manicures, pedicures, hair styling, and use of the Rainforest Room. (Rejuvenation Spa, Couples massages, the juice bar, teeth-whitening, facial and barbering services; Chill Spa treatments, and the Relaxation and Locker Rooms are all temporarily unavailable.)
- The fitness center will be open with modifications to allow for physical distancing. (Reservations are required for specialized classes.)
- Housekeeping will still be operating twice a day, but high-touch loose soft goods (such as sofa pillows and paper stationery) have been removed from staterooms.
- Door-to-door gift exchanges (via “fish extenders”) among guests are not permitted at this time.
- Additional measures taken include an increased number of hand-sanitizing stations, additional signage, reduced guest capacity, physical distancing, and specialized onboard medical capabilities.
Disney Cruise Line has returned to Castaway Cay as well as many other popular destinations.
- There will be a brand new virtual queue to debark the ship at all ports of call. You will be able to join the virtual queue via the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app while onboard the ship, and you will receive a push notification on your mobile device when it’s your turn to leave the ship. Before exiting, you must show the debarkation ticket (given to you via the app), your Key to the World card, and a photo ID if you’re 18 years of age or older. (During less busy times, the virtual queue will close, and you will be able to make your way off the ship as you please.)
- Port Adventures will operate at a reduced capacity, and they can be reserved online, via the app, or onboard.
- Castaway Cay will be open with modifications:
- Masks are not required except for when traveling on trams or other island transportation, in merchandise locations, in dining pavilions when not actively eating, and in restrooms.
- Hammocks have been temporarily suspended, and guests are asked not to move lounge chairs as they have been strategically rearranged for physical distancing.
- Cookies BBQ will be open, and you will be served by Cast Members.
- Scuttle’s Cove will be open on a first-come, first-serve basis.
- Teen Hideout and In Da Shade Game Pavilion will be open with limited capacity for recreational activities, including basketball, foosball, table tennis, and pool.
- Pelican Plunge will be open and will be utilizing a new queue system on land to help promote physical distancing.
- Rental equipment (such as bicycles, inflatable tubes, and snorkel gear) will be available, and enhanced cleaning methods will be in place.
- Package pickup will be temporarily suspended.
- For those of you who are fans of the 5K race on Disney Castaway Cay, the group race has been temporarily suspended. However, you may run the race on your own (no registration required), while practicing physical distancing. All participants who complete the 5K run will still receive a finishing medallion. (Information on where and when you can pick up your medal will be made available on the Disney Cruise Line Navigator app.)
Good News for 2022: Disney Wish
Cruising is definitely seeing a return to “normalcy” to some extent. And Disney Cruise Line is even introducing a brand new ship for 2022! The Disney Wish will be setting sail in summer 2022, and it will be Disney’s fifth cruise ship. As the largest Disney ship built to date, it has a lot to offer for families, kids, and adults. And based on what we know so far, we are more than a little excited about this brand new offering from Disney Cruise Line!
**Stay tuned for more information as we will regularly update this page as new information is announced!
**Looking to plan your Disney Cruise Line vacation? Be sure to visit my step-by-step guide to get started!