UPDATE: Coronavirus and Disney Cruise Line – What We Know

UPDATE 04/02/20 – 6:30pm: Disney Cruise Line has released new policies for guests that were scheduled to travel between April 13th and April 28th, but moved their cruises before the official cancellation due to the COVID-19 coronavirus.

Guests scheduled on those cruises who canceled between January 30th and March 31st will automatically have any cancellation fees refunded.

If those guests moved to a new sail date, Disney Cruise Line will give them a onboard credit of 25% of their original fare that will be applied to their shipboard account once their modified reservation is paid in full. This offer is only valid on sailings that take place within 15 months of their original cruise.

Guests that had not yet rebooked before the recent cancellations have been offered a 125% future cruise credit that is valid for 15 months from their original sail date.

UPDATE 4/1/20 – 2:00pm: Florida Governor Ron DeSantis has just issued a statewide stay-at-home order for 30 days meaning residents can only be out and about for essential visits to grocery stores, gas stations, banks, pharmacies, and doctor’s office visits. The order goes into effect on Wednesday, April 2, 2020.

UPDATE 3/30/20 – 11:30am: Disney Cruise Line has just announced that all sailings with departure dates through April 28, 2020 have been canceled. More info on affected sailings HERE.

UPDATE 3/28/20 – 9:00am: Dreams Unlimited Travel agents have started receiving letters from Disney Cruise Line on behalf of their clients who sailed on the Disney Wonder from New Orleans that departed on March 6, 2020. In the letter, Disney Cruise Line states that they “didn’t receive any reports of guests or crew members with COVID-19 symptoms during the sailing.”

Additionally, they received information from a “handful” of guests on that cruise that they “began feeling ill after returning home and have since tested positive for COVID-19. Disney has shared this information with the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC).

UPDATE 3/27/20 – 3:30pm: The Walt Disney Company has extended the closures at both Walt Disney World and the Disneyland Resort until further notice.

UPDATE 3/26/20 – 11:00am: Adventures by Disney has canceled most trips through the end of May. They are continuing to evaluate the 3-night Barcelona Escape (departing 5/20 and 5/27) and the 7-night Mediterranean Adventures by Disney Cruise Package (departing 5/23 and 5/30 respectively).

UPDATE 3/19/20 – 2:41pm: Disney Cruise Line has posted the following addition to their final payment policy: Beginning March 18, 2020, an automatic final payment extension was added to select 2020 summer reservations. Final payments will now be extended out an additional 30 days. For example, a departure with a final payment due yesterday, March 18, 2020, is now extended to April 17th, 2020.

The impacted sailings are:

Disney Dream: Sailing embarking on June 17th – sailings embarking on August 30th
Disney Fantasy: Sailing embarking on July 18th – sailings embarking on August 31st
Disney Wonder: Sailing embarking on July 20th – sailings embarking on August 31st
Disney Magic: Sailing embarking on August 5th – sailings embarking on August 30th

The following policies apply:

  • Guests will not be able to complete Online Check-In or book Cruise Activities/Port Adventures if they have not paid in full.
  • Disney Cruise Line Air will continue to follow existing policies:
    o Payment will be due at time of final for Flexible Air
    o Restricted Air is non-refundable once paid
  • The cancellation policy will shift by 30 days for all non-suite/non-concierge staterooms
    o There are no changes to the cancellation policy for Suites and Concierge Staterooms

UPDATE 3/17/20 – 8am: As the Coronavirus Disease 2019 (COVID-19) situation continues to grow rapidly, Adventures by Disney has decided to suspend new departures through the end of April and some through the end of May and June.

  • Vietnam, Cambodia, and Laos departures through May
  • Italy departures through May
  • Italy and Amalfi Coast departures through May
  • Japan departures through May
  • China departures through June

Additionally, Disney Vacation Club has decided to temporarily close Disney’s Hilton Head Island Resort in addition to Disney’s Vero Beach Resort and all Walt Disney World Resort hotels.

This closure at Hilton Head will begin at 5:00 p.m. on Friday, March 20, and will extend through the end of the month giving folks the ability to make necessary travel arrangements or book alternative accommodations.

Update 3/16/20 – 8:00am:

Update 3/14/20 – 4:30pm: Disney Cruise Line has announced that they I’ll be suspending all new departures through and including April 12, 2020.

Update 3/14/20 – 1:00pm: President Trump has now extended the travel restrictions to include the United Kingdom and Ireland. The restrictions will go into effect at midnight on Monday, March 16th.

Update – 3/13/20 – 3:00pm: Canada has announced new rules that are being put in place to limit the spread of COVID-19, including a ban on cruise ships like the Disney Wonder, which spends its summers sailing to Alaska out of Vancouver, British Columbia. Click here for more information.

Update – 3/12/20 – 8:35pm:

Update – 3/12/20 – 4:30pm: The Disneyland Resort has announced that their theme parks will be closed beginning March 14th and their Resort hotels will close beginning March 16th. Both the Parks and Resorts will remain closed through the end of March.

Update – 3/11/20 – 9:00 pm: President Donald Trump addressed the nation Wednesday evening regarding the response to the Coronavirus outbreak and stated that beginning Friday, “all travel” between the United States and Europe will be restricted for thirty days. He did state that the United Kingdom would be exempt from this limitation.

Update – 3/11/20 – 1:00 pm: The World Health Organization Director-General Tedros Adhanom Ghebreyesus declared the Coronavirus outbreak a pandemic. It’s important to note that the pandemic distinction refers to the spread of the virus, not the severity of it.

Update – 3/9/20 – 10:00 am: The Centers for Disease Control and the US State Dept. have issued new guidance regarding air and cruise travel. Recommendations are that people avoid unnecessary air travel and defer cruise travel, especially those in higher-risk groups (these groups include people over 60 or those of any age with underlying health issues including diabetes, lung disease or heart disease)

Update – 3/6/20 7:00 pm: The Centers for Disease Control have issued new guidance strongly recommending that people over age 60 and those with underlying medical conditions remain home. The guidance suggests that these groups should avoid air travel, as well as activities that would involve large crowds.

Update – 3/6/20 4:30 pm: Disney Cruise Line has now updated their cancelation policy for sailings out of Europe this summer. Guests booked on European cruises through a July 25th departure date can now change their reservation up to 24 hours prior to embarkation. You will receive a 100% cruise credit to be used for a future sailing within 15 months of the original sale date. The credit is non-refundable and standard prevailing rates will apply. In addition to this temporary policy change, DCL is allowing guests who are currently booked on the July 13, July 18 and July 25th European sailings to delay their final payment until 30 days prior to sailing.

Update – 3/6/2020 12:00 pm: Disney Cruise Line announced this morning that in addition to the preventative measures already announced that they will be relaxing cancellation policies. Guests scheduled to sail before May 31 will be able to cancel up to 1 day before embarkation and will receive 100% credit for a future sailing up to 12 months from the date of sailing. This is going to be sent directly to clients affected. The credit is non-refundable and prevailing cruise rates apply. If you have a sailing scheduled in this time frame, I recommend you take a ‘wait and see’ approach to this. You can cancel and rebook up to 24 hours before you sail. Since this situation is so fluid, it provides good peace of mind that you can cancel at the last minute without penalty.

ORIGINAL POST

As more information about Coronavirus is released each day, people are increasingly concerned about their upcoming vacation plans. I thought this was a good time to discuss what we know (and what we don’t).

First – to date, there have been no reports of Coronavirus incidents involving Disney Cruise Line. That’s not to say it can’t happen, but to date there have been no reports of it.

Second – DCL has taken measures to limit people on board who have traveled to or from high-risk areas. This includes “any guest or crew member who has traveled from, to or through China (including Hong Kong and Macau), South Korea, Italy, Iran or Japan within 14 days of their sailings departure.”

Disney Cruise Line has also advised that “any guest who has been in contact with someone from these areas, including guests with connecting flights in these locations, also will not be able to board, nor will anyone who has helped care for someone suspected or diagnosed with coronavirus.” How exactly they are able to screen for those circumstances is unclear, but that has been their messaging to guests at this point.

Here’s my take: I trust DCL, but I’m also aware that there is only so much they can do to control Coronavirus. However, I feel like a cruise ship has more control over their surroundings than other public areas – that’s the upside. The downside – if someone gets sick, it travels faster in a contained environment.

I think it’s important for everyone to follow what’s going on from trusted sources. I’ve been keeping tabs on releases and announcements from the CDC in particular: https://www.cdc.gov/coronavirus/2019-ncov/index.html Some of the information I’ve found helpful:

  • 80% of people will have no symptoms or minimal symptoms when exposed to the Coronavirus. That means they will not get sick, or will exhibit very mild symptoms.
  • The elderly are more at risk as well as people with pre-existing conditions.
  • Masks are not going to help if you are already healthy. Masks should be used if you are sick (sneezing, coughing) as it might help lower the incidents of spreading any illness.
  • Comparing this to the flu is helping spread misinformation. The mortality rate for the flu is about 0.1%. Coronavirus estimates have the mortality rate at 2%-3% – meaning it’s 20 to 30 times more fatal than the flu. Again, this appears to be in people who are older, or who have a pre-existing condition where their immune systems are compromised.
  • Children’s immune systems appear to be better at dealing with exposure to the virus than adults.

Of course, this information is based on what we know now. As more research is done, more information will become available. As for me, I intend to continue my planned travel. I have a three night sailing on the Dream in a few weeks, followed by a week-long stay at WDW. Mid-April I plan to visit Egypt. Of course, I’ll monitor events as they unfold and adjust my plans if necessary – but that’s my personal view on this. For others, they feel safer at home and that’s a perfectly reasonable response to this. All we can do is find out what the information is out there and make the best choice for ourselves and our families.

We’ll continue to update the site with information as it becomes available.

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