Disney Cruise Line has been named the second cruise company to receive approval from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to operate a simulated cruise from a US port as the first step towards resuming a paid-for service. Disney is planning a trip for the end of June aboard the 130,000 gt Disney Dream, leaving from Port Canaveral, Florida.
Disney Signature Experiences President Thomas Mazloum wrote a letter to employees, which was leaked by a fan site, that “we received word that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved our application to conduct a simulation cruise in advance of resuming normal operations. This is a critically important milestone for Disney Cruise Line – and I want to thank everyone who has been supporting our return-to-service plans with such dedication and hard work.”
As is required by the CDC the Disney Dream will operate a two-night cruise. It will depart on June 29th and return on July 1st. All the passengers will be volunteers who agree to pre- and post-cruise Covid-19 tests.
As part of the simulated cruises, required by the CDC as a test of the line’s health and safety protocols, passengers and crew will participate in normal elements of a cruise and will report back to the CDC on the success or any areas that need to be corrected. The CDC can require more than one simulated cruise if there are deficiencies before a cruise line is permitted to restart commercial service.
Disney has not yet announced its plans for any US-based cruises this year.
In mid-May Disney cancelled all cruises aboard the Disney Wonder up to July 12th. Cruises on the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy were cancelled through until July 31st. The Disney Magic is due to operate UK-based cruises starting from Liverpool on July 15th.
Fan website LaughingPlace reported that the simulated cruise would be operated with Disney cast members as the passengers, rather than members of the general public. Where other cruise lines have asked for volunteers for the test cruises there has been a vast oversubscription.
The Florida governor’s office continues to insist that Florida will not permit the cruise lines to ask for proof of vaccinations. Florida’s governor has signed an EO forbidding businesses to require vaccine passports. Rumours that cruise lines might be an exception to this have been vigorously denied.