Since I explained in a previous article how the pre-boarding and boarding process works at Disney Cruise Line back in August, everything has changed so I thought we’d walk through how it all is working currently.
When I cruised back in August, my daughter was in the middle of getting her two COVID vaccinations so for the purposes of that sailing, she was considered unvaccinated. Now that all passengers ages 12 and over are required to be vaccinated in order to cruise, it’s all different.
In order to sail, guests who are 11 years of age and under must provide proof of a negative COVID test that was administered between 3 days and 24 hours prior to the date you set sail. Folks, I have to tell you that it is critical to make your appointments the second that you’re able to as this is a very tight window. The appointment availability will obviously depend on where you live, but back in August, I had a 5-day window for my daughter’s appointment and that was tough; you only have 3 days now. The results from this test, which must be the rapid or lab-based PCR test, need to be uploaded to the Safe Passage website 24-hours prior to sailing. I know, it’s a tight deadline.
In addition to the vaccination requirement, all passengers, regardless of age and vaccination status, must take a COVID test at the cruise terminal and receive a negative result in order to board the ship. The test is paid for by Disney, so guests will not incur a fee for it which, in my opinion, is very generous as we had to pay $65 for my daughter’s test last month on top of taking out a travel insurance policy for her.
Now, let’s go over just how easy the arrival day was for us on our most recent cruise in September. You know I had to get on another cruise almost immediately when all of the rules changed; it’s what we here at DCL Fan call research. Ahem.
This time when we pulled into the parking garage after dropping our luggage off with the curbside porters, there were high-top tables lined up at every other parking spot and we were directed to pull up adjacent to one. Please accept my apologies for the dry water spots on my windshield – they dried before I had a chance to turn the wipers on. A tech from Inspire Diagnostics, the company that administers the COVID-19 tests, greeted us and handed us two tests. The tech walked us through the self-administered test and directed us to head up to the higher levels of the garage where we’d park and wait for an email with our test results. The email comes from Safe Passage and instructs you to log in to their site to obtain your results.
We loved being able to wait in the comfort of our own vehicle as opposed to waiting in the tents the month before. The time flew by and we had our test results and clearance to proceed to the terminal in exactly 42 minutes.
I have to say that the folks at Disney are truly expert level at managing crowds. The added time spent in the parking garage was no big deal to us as everyone’s port arrival time is still spaced out. If you arrive at the port on a shuttle or another means of transportation, you’ll be instructed to proceed to the large tents that are adjacent to the parking garage for your testing. You can read more about the tents and that process HERE.
I suspect that with Pfizer recently asking the FDA for approval on their COVID vaccine for children ages 5-11, we’ll be seeing more changes in the near future. We’ll be sure to report on any changes that come about, so stay tuned!