Disney is latest line to extend cruise cancellations
The magic at sea is now on hold until at least March.
Disney Cruise Line is joining Carnival Cruise Line, Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises in canceling all sailings through at least the end of February due to the ongoing coronavirus pandemic.
The four-ship brand on Friday said two of its vessels, Disney Magic and Disney Dream, won't return to service until at least March 1. Disney Fantasy now is scheduled to restart operations on March 6. Disney Wonder's comeback is now set for March 12.
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Until Friday, Disney only had canceled departures through the end of December.
"Our team at Disney Cruise Line remains focused on the health and well-being of our guests and team members," Disney said in a statement accompanying the announcement. "We are continuing to carefully review the guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and are working toward resuming operations."
The CDC in late October issued a new road map for a return to cruising in U.S. waters that suggested it could be many months before cruising would be allowed to resume.
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Issued as a “framework for conditional sailing” order, the road map includes a testing period for new anti-COVID protocols on ships that could extend well into January. After that, cruise operators can apply for what the CDC is calling a Conditional Sailing Certificate in a process that could take an additional 60 days.
Assuming the CDC sticks to the guidelines that it has laid out in the order, it could be March or April, at the earliest, before cruising resumes out of U.S. ports.
Disney in the winter typically operates all its ships out of U.S. ports.
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The recent rounds of cancellations also come in the wake of a spike in COVID-19 case counts in both Europe and North America. The U.S. in recent days has been recording more than 150,000 new coronavirus cases per day, on average.
Disney's announcement came just a day after Carnival announced it was canceling all sailings through the end of February. Norwegian Cruise Line and Celebrity Cruises made similar announcements on Wednesday, and Royal Caribbean on Wednesday canceled nearly all its sailings through the end of February. Princess Cruises, Holland America, Oceania Cruises and Regent Seven Seas Cruises have canceled sailings even further out, through the end of March.
Cruising has resumed in a very limited way in recent months in parts of Europe, led by Europe-based lines such as MSC Cruises, Costa Cruises and TUI Cruises. A handful of lines in other parts of the world including French Polynesia also have resumed limited sailings.
But a surge of COVID cases in Europe that began in the late summer, and resulting lockdowns in some countries, has prompted many ocean and river lines operating there to shut back down.
Related: Royal Caribbean restarts sailings with one ship -- but there's a catch
Disney on Friday said passengers booked on newly canceled sailings who have paid for the trips in full will have the choice of a full refund or a credit for a future cruise.
Passengers who have not paid for the trips in full will automatically receive a refund of what they have paid so far. Disney said affected passengers and their travel agents, if they used one, will receive soon outlining details of the offer and next steps.
Disney said affected passengers who booked through a travel agent should contact the agent directly with any questions. Those who booked directly with Disney who have questions can call the line at 866-325-6685 or 407-566-7797.
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