Disney Cruise Line Faces 4 Lawsuits Alleging COVID-19 Contraction Aboard March Cruise

On March 2, 2021, cruisers from Utah and Arizona who were aboard a 7-night Eastern Caribbean cruise on the Disney Fantasy back in March of 2020 filed lawsuits against Disney Cruise Line, claiming that they contracted COVID-19 during their sailing, according to an article in the Orlando Sentinel. The lawsuits were filed in the Orlando federal court division, and all seek unspecified damages.

All 4 federal lawsuits claim that Disney Cruise Line would not allow the guests to cancel or reschedule their sailings even though they stated that their party members have “autoimmune diseases and compromised health conditions.” They claim that they were “left without any option” but to continue with their March 7-14, 2020 cruise vacation.

Email records show that Disney Cruise Line allowed guests to modify their cruise reservations until the day before embarkation to receive a 100% cruise credit.

The lawsuits also state that DCL allowed those aboard this cruise to dine in buffet restaurants, participate in group activities (such as dancing), and “otherwise allowed passengers to fully participate in the subject cruise as if there was no COVID-19 outbreak or threat thereof aboard the vessel.”

According to a statement from Disney, the buffet on the Disney Fantasy was stopped on March 12, 2020.

The U.S. Department of State made an announcement on March 8, 2020, advising Americans not to travel on cruise ships.

After the ship returned, the lawsuit claimed, [plaintiffs] Scott and Jana Olson’s child was taken to a hospital intensive care unit on March 16, 2020, with a high fever and difficulty breathing. The child, who had an unspecified autoimmune disease tested positive for COVID-19 on May 1, the lawsuit said. The parents also tested positive.

[One of plaintiff] Krystal Skinner’s children also had an autoimmune disease that wasn’t specified in the lawsuit and felt body aches, fever, chills, and a cough on the cruise. Her other child, who has asthma, had migraines, high fever, and difficulty breathing, the lawsuit stated. Both tested positive for COVID-19 on April 15, the lawsuit said. Their mother also felt sick onboard and tested positive the same day as her children, according to the lawsuit.

Cynthia Martinez, a Disney spokesperson, has denied the allegations set forth in the lawsuits with the following statement:

We disagree with the allegations and will respond to them in court. No guests or Crew reported symptoms of Covid-19 while aboard the Disney Fantasy during the March 7, 2020, sailing. Disney Cruise Line communicated health and safety information with guests in advance of and during their sailing and followed the guidance of public health officials available at the time.

8 thoughts on “Disney Cruise Line Faces 4 Lawsuits Alleging COVID-19 Contraction Aboard March Cruise

  • March 8, 2021 at 7:41 pm
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    But they did have another option – don’t cruise – or, apparently, based on the article, re-schedule with 100% cruise credit. Unless someone from DCL came to their house and physically forced them onboard, I don’t see how DCL is responsible for the risk they knew they were taking when they chose to get on the cruise.

  • March 8, 2021 at 11:27 pm
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    I was on this cruise and there were no mask requirements or distancing required at this time. It was early in the pandemic and we went on the cruise with no thought that it would be a problem. During the cruise there was a change to no buffet line or self serve drinks. We did not hear of any COVID cases during our time onboard and this article is the first I’ve heard of a case.

  • March 9, 2021 at 11:45 am
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    My family did a late January 2020 cruise on the Magic out of Miami. There were an awful lot of people who got sick after that cruise (according to the FB group). COVID? Maybe, maybe not.

    • March 9, 2021 at 1:36 pm
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      It’s very likely it could have been COVID. However, there’s probably no sure way to know, especially now. COVID was barely even known in the US in January 2020 (we knew about it, but it wasn’t something that was affecting the US yet). We had no idea then how it spread, either. Though, cruises tend to be breeding grounds for germs in general, so it very well could have been something else.

  • March 10, 2021 at 6:56 pm
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    This is precisely why Disney added liability disclaimers/waivers in advance of reopening…

  • March 22, 2021 at 9:22 pm
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    This is purely about money, that’s it, they’re looking for a cash out for their “alleged sickness” when there’s no actual verifiable way to prove they contracted Covid on board the ship, they could have been infected before they even stepped on board. The law firm involved in these suits is only looking to make bank on the settlements over these cases. they really don’t even care if someone actually got sick on board the ship, this is nothing more than a way for them to make money litigating against DCL, that’s their sole goal. It’s nothing more than predatory litigation, a way to make money off the hopes that DCL will want to settle rather than take this case to court and find out what a judge or jury will decide the outcome. I sincerely hope that Disney will fight these. I’m willing to bet every cent of this lawsuit that ANY money awarded the plaintiff’s will go right back into booking future cruises on DCL. They are just looking to cruise for free… Shame on them!

  • April 4, 2021 at 3:01 pm
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    This is a sad reflection on our society when we want to place blame on a company whose job it is to make dreams come true, for a pandemic that NO ONE can control. You decided to sail. Every single thing we do in life is a risk. You took it. Don’t blame something from nature on a company. We had Covid, too. It wasn’t fun. But we dealt with it and moved on. Sorry for your illness but be an adult and understand this is beyond even DIsney’s control.

  • April 5, 2021 at 8:17 pm
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    If they sailed on the March 7, 2020 cruise, and tested positive for Covid on April 15 and May 1, 2020 as they stated, there is no way that they contracted Covid on the ships. The incubation period is 14 days. The ship returned to port on March 14, so they would have had to test positive by March 28.

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