In a discussion thread over on the Disney Cruise Line forum on the DISboards, poster @ForMyBoys shared their family’s experience with a member of their party testing positive for COVID-19 upon arrival at Port Canaveral. They were supposed to be aboard the Disney Dream from January 2nd through the 8th.
In case you are not aware, beginning January 13, 2022, every guest over the age of 5 will be required to be vaccinated against COVID-19 prior to being allowed to board a Disney cruise ship – proof of vaccination must be provided to DCL during the pre-arrival process via the Safe Passage website. In addition, all cruisers must be tested at the port on embarkation day. You can read about the most current boarding process HERE. If anyone in your party tests positive for COVID-19 the day you are supposed to be boarding the ship, your entire party will, unfortunately, be denied boarding.
In this poster’s case, two staterooms were reserved as they were a party of 5.
All of us are vaccinated and had no symptoms.
…we found out on the website that our 18yo (who is vaccinated and had no symptoms) tested positive and we weren’t clear to sail. Everyone around us were high-fiving and making their way to the port and my kids were devastated. There were no instructions on what to do if you weren’t clear to sail.
Now, this is where things get a bit more interesting. The family was directed to wait inside a waiting room in another tent, or as the poster described, “a mobile home” where a doctor came and spoke to them about the positive test result. When they were officially told that they could not sail, they were offered a full refund for their cruise or a credit to use next time. There was some fine print in the letter when it came to accepting credit for the next time, i.e. non-transferrable, etc., so if you find yourself in this predicament, you’ll need to make your choice wisely.
They made us decide there in the moment which option we wanted [refund or credit] and gave us very little info.
Next, they were asked for a description of their luggage so that it could be retrieved for them prior to them getting a complimentary ride back to the airport. Two hours went by before someone came back into the “sterile” waiting room with a letter showing the refund for both staterooms.
Now, if you’ve ever been on a Disney cruise, you know that the first thing you do once you board that ship is head to Cabanas or to your assigned restaurant for lunch. If you’ve been to Port Canaveral, you know that there are no restaurants within walking distance and nowhere to buy food inside the terminal, so you can imagine by now that with 3 kids in the party, people needed to be fed. The family had arrived at the port just before 10:00 a.m. and the hours were ticking by. The best the terminal crew members could offer was some chips and water.
The ball was dropped at some point as it wasn’t until 3:30 p.m. when the woman who brought chips and water asked the family why they were still there (??!!!).
Finally at 4:15pm someone came to get us. They put us on a Disney bus with our luggage and drove us back to the airport. We arrived back at the airport at 5:30pm. 8 and half hour ordeal. No one helped us arrange for lodging or rental cars or anything. We of course had our phones and figured it out. The internet at the port wasn’t very good so booking everything was a pain.
We bought insurance through the Disney Cruise Line which was closed on Sundays. I called the next day and while I haven’t filled out the report seems likely our rental car and lodging won’t be covered since it wasn’t an official Trip interruption if we never boarded the cruise and we’re being told only the cruise fare itself us eligible for trip Cancellation coverage.
Folks, when you are buying trip insurance through any vendor, including Disney Cruise Line, please, for the love of everything, read the tiniest fine print and plan for the worst-case scenario because you just never know what can happen. This poor family had a really tough situation to deal with on a day that was supposed to be extra magical and then to have a travel insurance issue on top of it was just the worst.
We are so grateful to this mom for sharing her family’s story with us on the DISboards. In fact, if you have questions and/or want to read more about their experience, head over to the We Tested Positive For Covid at the Port and Here’s What Happened thread as she has very generously offered to provide answers and details to everything she can about it.
If you are thinking about booking a cruise, please reach out to one of our professional Earmarked Disney travel agents at Dreams Unlimited Travel for not only a free no-obligation quote but also for as much (or as little) help and guidance that you might need as you navigate these somewhat difficult waters of cruising in the midst of the global pandemic.