The news that we have waited so long for. Disney Cruise Lines has announced that sailings will resume from Port Canaveral in August 2021.
Here we will look at the changes which Disney has made to sailing and how this will affect your cruise experience.
Will you have to be vaccinated? Do you have to wear a mask? Find out what you need to know about sailing on a Disney Cruise in 2021.
- Which Disney Ships are Sailing?
- Do You Need to Be Vaccinated to Sail on the Disney Dream?
- Disney Cruise Embarkation
- Will I Need to Wear a Mask on a Disney Cruise?
- Social Distancing
- Disney Cruise Character Interactions
- Disney Cruise Staterooms
- How Will Dining Be Affected?
- Disney Cruise Entertainment
- Will There Be Fireworks?
- Disney Cruise Youth Activities
- Disney Cruise Ship App
- Disney Cruise Information
Which Disney Ships are Sailing?
The recent announcement is for the Disney Dream. She will start sailing again on August 9, 2021
The only information that they have released is about the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy.
Both Disney ships recently underwent a successful test cruise from Port Canaveral.
There is no word yet on when the Disney Wonder will set sail.
The Disney Magic is already sailing in Europe as she is not under the jurisdiction of the CDC when sailing outside of the United States.
It isn’t yet known when the Disney Wonder will resume sailing. She is due to be sailing Alaskan itineraries right now, followed by San Diego sailings.
However, as the Disney Wonder is in Florida at the moment, it is still unknown what the plans for future sailings are for the immediate future.
What we do know is that the Disney Dream will sail with passengers on August 9, 2021.
And that Disney Fantasy will sail on 4-night (reduced from 7 night) cruises from September 11, 2021.
- 4-Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral September 11, 2021
- 4-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral September 18, 2021
- 4-Night Western Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral September 25, 2021
- 4-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise from Port Canaveral October 2, 2021
Guests who have already paid in full will be offered a prorated cruise rate for the 4-night cruise. In addition, $400 will be given to each stateroom as an onboard credit. This OBC is use it or lose it, in other words, if you don’t use it on that cruise it can’t be transferred.
Guests can also opt to cancel and receive a full refund.
After a shutdown lasting since March 2020, this is a very welcome sign that Disney cruising will be getting back to “normal” in the near future.
Do You Need to Be Vaccinated to Sail on the Disney Dream?
No, you don’t need to be vaccinated to sail on Disney Cruise Lines.
However, if you voluntarily provide proof of having had two vaccinations then you are exempt from requiring covid testing and travel insurance.
Here are the new Disney healthy requirements:
- All Guests must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken between 5 days and 24 hours prior to the Disney Cruise sail date. This is at the Guests own expense. This is also subject to exceptions for vaccinated US residents not arriving from overseas.
- All guests will be required to take a COVID-19 rapid test provided by Disney, in the terminal prior to boarding and comply with other health and safety requirements. The $65 test fee will be charged to the Disney Cruise folio of all Guests 12 years and older.
- For cruises departing from Florida through December 31, 2021, guests 12 years and older must provide proof of a valid travel insurance policy
- Guests who are fully vaccinated may choose to provide proof of vaccination in order to be exempt from pre-trip and embarkation testing requirements (unless arriving from outside the United States) and travel insurance requirements.
- Guests ages 2 and older are required to wear a face covering on the ship and at our terminals , except in designated areas and situations.
- Certain onboard venues, experiences and other offerings will be modified or unavailable, will have limited capacity and availability and may be subject to advance reservations.
Watch the Disney Cruise video below to hear about the new health requirements and protocols.
Disney Cruise Embarkation
Arriving for your Disney Cruise is going to be different from now on.
Firstly, all guests must have a port arrival time that they can get on the Disney Cruise App.
This applies to all guests including Platinum and Concierge guests who previously could arrive at the terminal any time they wanted to.
- If you are fully vaccinated you need to bring proof of vaccination so that you are exempt from the testing and insurance requirements.
- If you are not vaccinated Guests must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test (paid for at the Guest’s expense) taken between 5 days and 24 hours prior to the sail date. Disney Cruise Line has secured a special rate of $98.33 per PCR test through our third-party vendor, Inspire Diagnostics. Guests may also obtain their PCR test from any independent testing supplier.
- Guests who are not vaccinated are required to undergo 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. The $65 test fee will be charged to the folio of all Guests 12 years and older.
Note here that if one of your party tests positive then all those in their travel party will also be denied boarding.
One thing which doesn’t seem clear is what if you are vaccinated and someone in your party tests positive? Would you still not be allowed on the ship?
This also leaves those 12 and under unable to get the vaccine and also not having been tested.
All Guests will be required to complete a Health Questionnaire before boarding.
Will I Need to Wear a Mask on a Disney Cruise?
The answer is that yes you are required to wear a mask on a Disney Cruise. Right now these rules are in place through December 31, 2021.
The video says that masks “will be required in most indoor public areas for guests 2 and older”.
The guidelines state:
- When indoors, everyone aged 2 and over has to wear a mask, even if you are vaccinated.
- The only exception to wearing masks indoors is when guests are in staterooms or actively eating or drinking (while stationary and maintaining an appropriate physical distance).
- You do not need to wear a mask outdoors or on Castaway Cay.
All Cast Members will be wearing masks.
Disney Cruise Lines has taken measures to encourage and be able to enforce the practice of safe social distancing.
The Disney ships will not be sailing at full capacity.
If you look at the Disney Cruise Website today, July 24, you can see that Disney Dream cruises are available for booking, but until October they are no Inside Staterooms available:
These are the first Disney Dream cruises showing for 2021 when you are able to book Inside Staterooms:
On the Disney Magic, there are clearly marked out social distancing limits. For instance, in the atrium, there are circles on the floor marking where family groups should stand together whilst enjoying character appearances.
There will be a screen at Guest Services and the Port Adventures desk. Things are certainly going to be a little different.
Disney Cruise Character Interactions
What about the Disney Cruise Characters? Will you be seeing Princess Ariel wearing a mask? Probably not.
But you aren’t going to be seeing the characters quite so up close and personal as you are used to either.
Characters will be at a distance and meet and greets will not be the same as they were. Right now, you will not be meeting the characters.
They will be seen from a safe social distance and you can interact with them as best as that situation will allow!
It is clear from the Disney Magic cruises which are sailing in Europe that the characters are very much out there, but you have to keep a safe distance. No autographs at the moment.
Disney Cruise Staterooms
You do not have to wear a mask in your Disney Cruise stateroom.
As we have seen, it seems that Inside Staterooms will not be available to book for cruises prior to late October.
Unlike some other cruise lines, Disney has announced that they will still be providing housekeeping twice daily.
So you will most likely still be seeing that coveted towel animal and chocolates on your pillow.
It is likely that your stateroom will be available later than usual on Embarkation Day. This is to allow your Stateroom Host to have time to deal with the enhanced cleaning protocols.
How Will Dining Be Affected?
A buffet will still be offered in Cabanas, but all food will be served to guests by Cast Members. There will not be any self-service.
Rotational Dining will continue as before with your Servers moving around restaurants with you.
There will be one travel party per table – so everyone will have a private table and be seated only with their party.
All of the menus will be digital so you can read them on your phone or via the Disney Cruise App.
There does seem to also be a change to Palo Brunch which perhaps many people are not going to like. There will no longer be a buffet.
It seems that it isn’t even that the buffet will be offered with Cast Members serving the food. Instead, it is replaced with menu items only.
Possibly a good reason to opt for Palo Dinner and not Brunch.
The Royal Court Royal Tea will still be available.
However, the Princesses will be socially distancing – so I am not sure that now is the time to book this experience as the interaction was such a huge part of the enjoyment of this.
Disney Cruise Entertainment
Unfortunately, all Deck Parties have been paused for the time being.
The show schedule will be different too. Each itinerary will offer one Broadway-style live show performed multiple times with reduced capacity. This allows for social distancing in the theater.
It seems that this will be on a first come first serve basis – there is no ability to book a specific performance.
The Buena Vista Movie Theater will also have limited capacity for social distancing. Again, this will be on a first come first serve basis.
Will There Be Fireworks?
It’s clear that Pirate Night will not be happening, but there will be fireworks, weather permitting.
The fireworks will be the new show Disney Ever After. There will be 2 performances of this and guests will be assigned to one specific show.
The fireworks show will be at 10.30 pm on 2 different nights.
Disney Cruise Youth Activities
Disney has announced that Youth Activities will be “experienced in small group settings”.
The policy will be that one counselor will have a group of up to 15 kids in the Oceaneer Club and Lab.
All children aged over 2 will have to wear masks.
Only one parent or guardian will be able to drop off and pick up. The adult will not be allowed to enter the Youth Activities Area.
Disney Cruise Ship App
It seems as though there are some enhancements to the Disney Cruise Line App. The video mentions Virtual Queues. Perhaps this is going to be for character greetings.
You have been able to access menus on the app for some time. Perhaps they will be stopping handing out the actual “paper” menus for dining.
The technology is there to make it very easy to not have to use the menus and that you just let your server know your choices from viewing the menu on an app.
Disney Cruise Information
Alison Meacham is the founder of EverythingMouse Disney Blog. For over 15 years she has shared her love of Disney Parks, Disney Cruises and Universal Orlando. In over 30 years of Disney Travel she has spent countless months in Disney Parks and has sailed on over 45 cruises. A British native and now a United States resident she splits her time between California, Florida and the UK. And spends a serious amount of time sailing the seven seas. She helps over 200,000 people per month follow their Disney travel dreams.