Disney Cruise Line extended its suspension further this week, halting all cruises until January 31, 2021, as COVID-19 continues to spread.
The suspension canceled the Disney Magic, Wonder and Dream crossings until February 1 and Disney Fantasy until February 6.
“Our Disney Cruise Line team remains focused on the health and well-being of our guests and team members,” the company said in its announcement. “We continue to carefully review the guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are working to resume operations.”
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Passengers who had already paid for the affected trips in full will be offered a refund or credit for a future cruise, according to Disney. Customers who have not paid in full will automatically receive a refund for what they paid.
A complete list of affected Disney Cruise Line crossings is available online here.
Disney has relaxed its schedule of cancellation fees for cruises through May. Customers who book before December 31 for cruises scheduled to depart before May 31 can also change their departure date up to 15 days prior to departure. And all passengers with symptoms or exposure to COVID-19 can cancel their trip for a full refund within 14 days of departure.
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The extended suspension came the same week that the CDC assessed the risk of catching COVID-19 on a cruise ship “very high.” The Federal Health Agency has lifted its sailing ban order for cruise ships, but still advises travelers to avoid cruises and has established a long set of health safety requirements that companies cruise lines must adhere to transport passengers in US waters.
Disney isn’t the only cruise line canceling trips in response to the pandemic. On Tuesday, the British brand Carnival Corp. P&O Cruises has announced that it is suspending operations until April. Last week, Princess Cruises announced it was canceling all trips until March 31 and trips over a week to and from U.S. ports until November 1, almost a year from now. And other mayor cruise lines, including Carnival and Royal Caribbean, have also canceled trips next year.
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In order to resume travel, cruise operators will need to prove to the CDC that they can do whatever they normally do with the coronavirus precautions in place. Cruise lines will need to organize mock trips with volunteer passengers. Last week, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley said the company has been contacted by more than 100,000 people volunteering for all the test cruises it runs.
When cruises start operating again, the CDC recommends passengers get tested between three and five days after travel and self-isolate at home for a week.