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A few days ago, Disney Cruise Line announced new sailing protocols based on safety measures during the Covid-19 pandemic. DCL fans have been
patiently waiting for this announcement for a long time. While other cruise lines announced new protocols weeks/months ago, DCL had been quiet until now. The first cruise on the Disney Dream sets sail from Port Canaveral on August 9.
What are the New DCL Sailing Protocols?
The entire list of protocols is listed here. Some highlights include:
- Vaccinations are not required, but unvaccinated guests must jump through more hoops (just like on Royal Caribbean)
- All unvaccinated guests must provide a negative PCR test within 5 days of boarding the ship
- Unvaccinated guests will also have a second Covid test at the port. Unvaccinated guests ages 12+ will have to pay for that test
- All unvaccinated guests 12+ need to have proof of travel insurance
- Masks must be worn indoors for both vaccinated and unvaccinated guests ages 2+
- No deck parties
- Only one Broadway musical per sailing, performed on multiple nights with distanced seating
- Reservations required for kids clubs, 2.5 hours max per day
- No nursery available
- Virtual queues for disembarkation
- Distanced characters
- Assigned night for fireworks
- No Fish Extenders
Why Some Cruisers are Unhappy
Of course, no matter the protocols, people are going to be unhappy. Some fully vaccinated people are not happy that they have to wear masks indoors. Some wish that all passengers had to be vaccinated (although that’s not feasible based on Florida law). Others are unhappy with the extra hoops for unvaccinated guests.
But for some people, it comes down to money and amenities. The price of the cruise is the same, but there are fewer amenities. I especially feel for parents with nursery-aged kids. That would be a deal breaker for me. We used the heck out of that nursery on our first Disney cruise!
What I Plan to Do for my Upcoming Disney Cruise
I have a cruise on the Disney Dream scheduled to depart in early fall. It’s just me and my daughter for her birthday. We’ve had this planned long before Covid.
Maybe I’m crazy, but for now, we are keeping the cruise. Why? I don’t think the protocols are unreasonable. Even though I’m vaccinated, I think wearing a mask indoors is a good idea due to the delta variant. Also, I think my unvaccinated daughter is safer on this cruise ship (where people have been tested twice and are wearing masks) than she will be at school (where masks cannot be required here in Texas by law).
We have a wonderful aft balcony cabin reserved. So if the worst case scenario happens and we have to be quarantined in our cabin, we certainly have a nice cabin to be stuck in.
This will be our 9th Disney cruise, and we have seen all of the Broadway shows. So seeing just one on this cruise doesn’t bother us. My daughter will have unlimited time in the tween club where no reservations are necessary. We can still enjoy the beach at Castaway Cay. I expect the ship to be far less crowded than we are used to.
I’m sure if this was our first cruise, we would feel differently. But it’s just the two of us, with off-season pricing. For now, we will keep it.
We can change our minds up to 15 days prior to sailing and move our cruise to a different date. If Covid cases get out of hand, we may consider that.
I don’t think that Covid is going away any time soon so long as there is no herd immunity. It will continue to mutate and go through waves. So, if cruise lines want to survive as a business, they have to figure out how to mitigate the risk. I don’t expect zero cases on board, but there should be very few cases that don’t pose a huge threat.
Travelers need to walk that fine line of risk vs. reward to determine what they are comfortable doing during these unprecedented times. I think DCL has done a decent job of trying to keep guests safe while keeping the business afloat.
What do you think of DCL’s new protocols?
Nancy lives near Dallas, Texas, with her husband and three kids. Her favorite vacations include the beach, cruising and everything Disney.