What Might Celebrity & Royal’s Return to US Cruising Mean for DCL?

In case you missed the news, both Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean have been approved to begin cruising out of the United States in June. Unfortunately, returning to cruising is no simple task. While Celebrity Cruises and Royal Caribbean are sister companies both owned by Royal Caribbean Group, they are each taking an entirely different route to re-enter cruising from the US. When it comes to the guidelines for cruising, The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has put cruise lines between a rock and a hard place. Actually, the Greek analogy between Scylla and Charybdis may be more fitting here (one was a sea monster and the other a vortex), but I digress. You may recall earlier this month when dclfan.com covered the new guidelines in place to begin simulated cruises. When I researched for that article by combing through the more than 70 requirements in order to conduct one of these test cruises, I could not see how any cruise line would go that route. The other option isn’t much better. To sidestep the simulated cruises, 95% of the passengers and 98% of the crew must be fully vaccinated.

So what are Royal Caribbean and Celebrity Cruises doing? Royal Caribbean is taking on the intensive simulated cruise requirements. Celebrity Cruises is going the vaccination route. Both are not without challenge. Royal Caribbean will need a percentage of volunteers who will be COVID tested frequently among other guidelines. Celebrity Cruises will be requiring cruisers to be vaccinated if 16 years or older to start and 12 years and older starting August 1st. This is for obvious reasons as passengers must be fully vaccinated and the timeline matches up with how vaccines are rolling out. Children those ages will have to get vaccinated within the necessary timelines in order to cruise with Celebrity. All unvaccinated children ineligible for vaccine would count against the 5%. Medical exemptions may also count against that percent which can limit how many families with younger children can sail. So what does this all mean for Disney Cruise Line?

Sadly, we don’t know. But I think it’s a safe guess that Disney Cruise Line will not want to limit families from cruising by going the vaccination route. And based on how the Florida governor feels about vaccine requirements, it’s anyone’s guess if sailing out of Florida will even be possible despite CDC approval. It would also be difficult to see Disney going the simulated cruise route. The requirements are lengthy and potentially profit-eating. We can only speculate at this point, but I’m wondering if Disney Cruise Lines is taking a “wait and see” approach and possibly hoping things change. We are starting to see improvements daily in the travel world. Disneyland just announced opening the parks to out-of-state guests and Hawai’i just dropped the outdoor mask mandate which could be good news for Aulani visitors. Only time will tell what Disney’s next move will be in terms of cruising. One thing is for certain as staterooms on The Wish are disappearing faster than Rise of the Resistance boarding groups. DCL fans are ready to cruise again.