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Disney Cruise Line could be restarting soon in wake of key CDC approval

June 01, 2021
4 min read
Disney Cruise Line could be restarting soon in wake of key CDC approval
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Get your Mickey ears, ready -- and your pirate outfits! The restart of Disney Cruise Line sailings out of Port Canaveral, Florida might be just weeks away.

The cruising arm of travel giant Disney has won approval from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) to conduct a so-called "test cruise" out of the port in late June -- a precursor to restarting regular departures for the first time in more than a year.

Disney Signature Experiences president Thomas Mazloum told staff members in a letter posted Tuesday at LaughingPlace.com that the CDC had cleared the line's 2,500-passenger Disney Dream to operate a two-night test cruise from June 29 through July 1 out of Port Canaveral.

Assuming all goes well, Disney could resume regular sailings with paying passengers from the port shortly thereafter.

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The sailings would be Disney's first from a U.S. port since March of 2020, when the coronavirus outbreak was declared a pandemic.

"This is a critically important milestone for Disney Cruise Line – and I want to thank everyone who has been supporting our return-to-service plans with such dedication and hard work," Mazloum said in the letter.

Mazloum said Disney Dream would sail with volunteers during the test cruise and undergo tests of newly developed health and safety protocols.

Disney Cruise Line is just the second cruise line to win CDC approval to operate a test cruise. Royal Caribbean last week announced that it had been cleared by the CDC to operate a test cruise for sailings out of PortMiami on its 3,934-passenger Freedom of the Seas.

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The CDC is requiring such test cruises for any large cruise vessel that plans to operate in U.S. waters between now and Oct. 31 without 95% of passengers vaccinated for COVID-19.

Cruise vessels that plan to operate in U.S. waters in the coming months with at least 95% of passengers vaccinated for COVID-19 are exempt from the requirement.

The CDC rules apply to all cruise vessels that carry more than 250 passengers and crew.

The fact that Disney has asked the CDC to operate a test cruise with Disney Dream suggests the line doesn't plan to implement an across-the-board vaccine requirement for passengers when it restarts cruising this summer.

That's in contrast to more than a dozen lines such as Norwegian Cruise Line, Oceania Cruises, Crystal Cruises and Azamara that have announced that COVID-19 vaccines will be mandatory for all passengers.

Implementing an across-the-board vaccine mandate would be difficult for Disney Cruise Line, which draw a large number of families with small children. Children under the age of 12 currently aren't eligible to get a COVID-19 vaccine.

Disney has yet to announce a broad return to cruising. Until now, the line only had revealed plans to operate a handful of cruises out of several ports in the U.K. starting on July 15. The trips only will be open to residents of the U.K. and take place on the 1,754-passenger Disney Magic.

In a statement sent to TPG, Disney called the upcoming test cruise an "important next step" toward its resumption of service.

"[We] are grateful for the productive dialogue with state, local and federal officials, the CDC and others in our industry that has made this possible," Disney said in the statement. "We look forward to our amazing crew once again creating magic for our guests and to helping the many workers who support our industry get back to work."

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Featured image by UIG via Getty Images
Editorial disclaimer: Opinions expressed here are the author’s alone, not those of any bank, credit card issuer, airline or hotel chain, and have not been reviewed, approved or otherwise endorsed by any of these entities.

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Card Rating is based on the opinion of TPG‘s editors and is not influenced by the card issuer.
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10XEarn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel
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Why We Chose It

The Capital One Venture X card is one of the best all-round travel credit cards ever launched. Not only is it offering a tremendous welcome bonus, but cardholders can earn tons of miles on everyday spending and receive a 10,000-mile anniversary bonus to boot. Its annual fee is $395, but cardholders can count on up to $300 in statement credits toward travel booked through Capital One Travel each year and other valuable benefits like access to Priority Pass lounges and Capital One’s own growing family of airport lounges.

Pros

  • Excellent welcome offer worth 75,000 miles after you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first three months.
  • Up to $300 in annual travel statement credits toward bookings make through Capital One Travel.
  • 10,000 bonus miles (worth $100 toward travel) each account anniversary.

Cons

  • The $395 annual fee might be expensive for some, but this card’s benefits provide much more value than that.
  • If you don’t travel frequently, this might not be the best card for you.
  • Earn 75,000 bonus miles when you spend $4,000 on purchases in the first 3 months from account opening, equal to $750 in travel
  • Receive up to $300 back annually as statement credits for bookings through Capital One Travel, where you'll get Capital One's best prices on thousands of options
  • Get 10,000 bonus miles (equal to $100 towards travel) every year, starting on your first anniversary
  • Earn unlimited 10X miles on hotels and rental cars booked through Capital One Travel and 5X miles on flights booked through Capital One Travel
  • Earn unlimited 2X miles on all other purchases
  • Unlimited complimentary access for you and two guests to 1,300+ lounges, including Capital One Lounges and the Partner Lounge Network
  • Receive up to a $100 credit for Global Entry or TSA PreCheck®
  • Use your Venture X miles to easily cover travel expenses, including flights, hotels, rental cars and more—you can even transfer your miles to your choice of 15+ travel loyalty programs
  • Named editors' choice for "Best New Credit Card of 2021" by The Points Guy
  • Earn 10 miles per dollar when you book on Turo, the world's largest car sharing marketplace, through May 16, 2023