Disney Cruise Line has become the first to announce that passengers between the ages of 5 and 11 will require full COVID-19 vaccination prior to sailing.
Disney Cruise Line says the new policy will come into effect from January 13th, 2022, and will require all passengers older than 5 years old to have received one of the CDC-approved vaccines.
These include: the Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Novavax, Sinopharm, and Sinovac vaccines.
“Disney Cruise Line continues to require all vaccine-eligible Guests (based on US eligibility requirements) to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at the time of sailing,” the cruise line said.
“This will be a requirement for all Guests (US and international) ages 5 and up for sailings beginning on or after January 13, 2022,” it added.
According to the CDC’s definition, a person is fully vaccinated against COVID-19 two weeks after receiving the final dose of a vaccine (all the current vaccines are administered in one or two doses).
This means guests planning to cruise with Disney on January 13th, 2022 will need to have their eligible children receive the final dose of the vaccine no later than December 30th, 2021.
Many COVID-19 two-dose vaccines require a 3 to 4 weeks window between doses, creating a tight deadline for parents planning family cruises with Disney in the New Year.
Disney Cruise Line has emphasized that the vaccine mandate applies, across all ages, only to those eligible for the vaccine.
It won’t be excluding children who are unable to get the vaccine for eligibility reasons, but will require a negative COVID-19 test result (at the guest’s expense) taken between 3 days and 24 hours before their sail date.
While some cruise lines accept antigen tests, Disney Cruise Line has said that only a NAAT test, rapid PCR test, or lab-based PCR test would be accepted, and these testing requirements will apply to children 4 years of age and under.
The expanded vaccine mandate is part of a range of health and safety protocols introduced by Disney Cruise Line to combat the spread of COVID-19.
These include enhanced cleaning protocols, mask mandates for all passengers older than 2, reduced capacity, social distancing, and greater access to hand sanitizer stations.
Disney Cruise Line has also installed new air circulation and purification equipment aboard its ships.
All four ships in the Disney Cruise Line fleet have resumed operations. Disney Dream began sailing again on August 9th, 2021 from Port Canaveral, while Disney Fantasy resumed sailing from Port Canaveral on September 11th.
Disney Wonder resumed operations from San Diego on October 1st, and Disney Magic restarted from Miami on October 28th. Disney Wonder will restart from Galveston on November 19th, and will homeport in New Orleans from February 2nd, 2022.