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.