The conditional sail order (along with its long list of safety precautions) that was issued by the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention recently expired (January 15th) with no indication of being reinstated.
All 92 cruise ships that are currently sailing with passengers are listed on the CDC’s Cruise Ship Color Status as “under investigation” due to COVID-19 cases. At the time of this posting, all four Disney ships are coded as yellow, meaning the “CDC has investigated and ship remains under observation.”
Earlier this month during a Senate hearing, CDC Director Dr. Rochelle Walensky said, “the [cruise] industry has stepped up and is now interested in exceeding the compliance with the sail order.”
The CDC has posted the following statement on their website, “Cruise lines are encouraged to continue to follow all CDC public health measures, including reporting, testing, and infection prevention and control. More information about CDC’s COVID-19 Program for Cruise Ships will be released soon.” The word “encouraged” in their statement is an interesting choice as it makes their issued guidelines voluntary. While they do state that more information will be released soon, we don’t expect to see further mandatory guidelines issued.
Cruise lines are continuing to follow the CDC’s conditional sail order, even from Florida, although Gov. Ron DeSantis fought cruise lines’ efforts to require vaccines in addition to taking on the CDC in Federal court over the conditional sail order. When the Bahamian government began requiring vaccines in order for ships to enter their waters, every cruise line shifted its requirements stating that all eligible passengers must be vaccinated against COVID-19. Although the state won a temporary injunction against the CDC from enforcing the conditional sail order from Florida, that ruling was appealed but has not been ruled upon as of yet. “A federal judge sided with NCL’s parent company and granted a temporary injunction against the state from enforcing a law against so-called vaccine passports that went into effect on July 1, 2021, that would fine companies $5,000 per instance if they required vaccines.” This ruling has also been appealed and is awaiting a ruling in a higher court according to an article in The Seattle Times.
It remains to be seen what, if anything, Disney Cruise Line will change now that the conditional sail order has expired, but stay tuned to DCL Fan as we will keep you updated as soon as we hear anything.