Coronavirus Impact, Policies & Deals for Disney Cruise Line

Disney Cruise Line has released new coronavirus cancellation & refund policies, travel safety alerts, sanitization & health protocol, and other info for sailings through July 25, 2020. Additionally, DCL has released tons of new deals and last-minute discounts. We’ll cover all of the details here and also offer some commentary about cruising during the COVID-19 outbreak. (Updated March 9, 2020.)

I’ll start with the same disclaimer offered in our Visiting Walt Disney World During the Coronavirus Outbreak: I am not a health professional, and the advice here should not be relied upon as such. For that, consult the World Health Organization’s basic protective measures against the new coronavirus (COVID-19), the U.S. Department of State’s Alert Bulletin about the Current State of Coronavirus, and Centers for Disease Control’s COVID-19 Situation Summary.

Most recently, the U.S. State Department issued a new updated advising U.S. citizens not to travel by cruise ship. This is particularly the case for travelers with underlying health conditions. CDC indicates that this is due to an increased risk of infection of COVID-19 in a cruise ship environment. In order to curb the spread of COVID-19, many countries have implemented strict screening procedures that have denied port entry rights to ships and prevented passengers from disembarking…

In its advisory, the State Department indicates that this is a fluid situation. Passengers with plans to cruise in the future should monitor the travel.state.gov travel advisories, and should contact their cruise line companies directly for further information.

For its part, the CDC released new guidance advising that people at higher risk of severe illness should “stay home as much as possible.” This includes avoiding crowds and large gatherings where there will be close contact with others. Public health experts define higher risk populations as people 60 and older; those with underlying health conditions; people with weakened immune systems; and those who are pregnant.

On a slightly optimistic note, there are a ton of deals for Disney Cruise Line right now. Given all of the news coverage about the coronavirus outbreak aboard the Grand Princess cruise ship off the coast of California, it’s likely that these deals will become even more aggressive as Disney attempts to offset the slew of cancellations.

These deals go well beyond what’s listed on Disney Cruise Line’s “Special Offers.” The best discounts we’re seeing are for Florida Residents, Military, Cast Members, and “Restricted Guarantee” fares (which are probably applicable to most of your reading this). The various classes of these are Inside (IGT), Outside (OGT), and Verandah Guarantees (VGT). We cover the ins and outs of Restricted Guarantee fares in our How to Save Money on Disney Cruise Line Sailings.

Again, I’m not a health expert–I’m presenting this information as a dealhound and without commentary as to whether it’s safe or smart to take a cruise right now. The one bit of commentary I will offer here is that I’m seeing deeply-discounted cruises all the way into mid-September 2020.

Personally, I wouldn’t book a new cruise for the next month or so, but I do find some of these late-summer European and Norwegian Fjords & Iceland Cruise sailings really tempting. Obviously, I have no clue how the situation with coronavirus will ultimately play out, but I suspect Disney Cruise Line will do one of two things (potentially both, depending upon the sailing) if coronavirus is still a significant issue many months from now…

The first option would be to extend the current cancellation policy, or introduce an even more lenient one, that actually offers a cash refund. Just in the last few days, cruise operators and airlines have dramatically altered their policies. Both are suffering huge losses right now. If they want to entice bookings, they’ll have no choice but to do more and compete with one another on pro-traveler policies.

The second option would be to cancel cruises altogether. Disney Cruise Line could cancel for two different reasons: either as a matter of public health or a business decision if even deep discounts aren’t incentivizing enough guests to book. If the ships are sailing half full or less, it may cease being profitable to operate them. (Airlines have already done this by reducing service to select destinations.)

Modifying itineraries to avoid certain destinations is another option along these lines. Right now, the situation in Italy looks pretty bad–but remember that it escalated there very rapidly. Nothing is to say things won’t significantly improve in Europe while deteriorating elsewhere in the coming weeks or months. Coronavirus numbers are literally changing on a daily basis.

Pouncing on deals now for cruises in the more distant future may be a savvy approach. Then again, I’m on the less risk-averse side. Your personal comfort level in traveling may vary.

Before you take advantage of any discounts, you definitely should take a hard and sober look at Disney Cruise Line’s current policies, protocol, recommendations, etc…

Disney Cruise Line Coronavirus (COVID-19) Travel Alert

Disney Cruise Line has sent email advisories to guests with scheduled sailings and also released a new update on its website. That indicates that DCL is closely following guidance from health officials and authorities in the ports of call, and is committed to keeping people informed and updated, and will address any questions guests may have in advance of their cruise vacations and once they’re onboard.

It goes on to state that Disney Cruise Line’s primary focus is the health and safety of guests and Crew Members. Disney notes that its guidelines and policies will continue to evolve and change as more information about coronavirus becomes available.

In the meantime, DCL is taking precautionary steps and has implemented the following guidelines:

  • Any guest or Crew Member who has traveled from, to or through China, including Hong Kong and Macau, South Korea, Italy, Iran or Japan, within 14 days of departure will not be able to board DCL ships.
  • Any guest or Crew Member who has been in contact with someone from these areas, including guests with connecting flights in these locations, also will not be able to board, nor will anyone who has helped care for someone suspected of having or diagnosed with the coronavirus (COVID-19), or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure. Guests who have air travel booked through Disney Cruise Line will automatically have their flights rebooked on an alternate route. Guests who booked their own air travel arrangements should contact their airlines directly to make the appropriate changes.
  • Disney Cruise Line screens all guests and Crew Members before boarding, and anyone who feels unwell with gastrointestinal or flu-like symptoms (fever over 100.4º F, chills, cough or difficulty breathing) will not be permitted to sail.
  • In addition, all guests and Crew Members will have their temperature checked by a nurse with a no touch thermometer prior to boarding, regardless if they are symptomatic or feel unwell. Additional medical screening will be required for anyone with a temperature of 100.4º F or greater, and they along with their travel party may be unable to sail.
  • For cruises that include a stop in Nassau or Castaway Cay, please note that The Bahamas will not allow anyone to disembark in any Bahamian port if they have been to China, South Korea, Italy or Iran in the past 20 days prior to arrival. Such guests may be able to sail but will be unable to visit the Bahamas.
  • For cruises that include a stop in Jamaica, please note that in addition to the locations noted above, officials there also will not allow guests who have traveled from, to or through Singapore within 14 days of arrival to come ashore. These guests will be unable to sail.

Disney Cruise Line Coronavirus Cancellation Policy

Given the current situation, Disney Cruise Line is offering temporary adjustments to its cancellation policy to provide more flexibility for guests. These adjustments may continue to evolve as more information becomes available.

Here are the current cancellation policies for each ship/itinerary…

Disney Magic European Sailings

  • Disney Cruise Line has not made any changes to European itineraries, but Disney is closely following the situation in Italy. Disney will continue to monitor global developments and follow the guidance of public health authorities and ports of call regarding who they will allow to disembark based on travel history and health screenings. Should itinerary changes become necessary, DCL will notify impacted guests immediately.
  • Guests currently booked on European sailings through the July 25, 2020 departure can change their reservation up until the day before embarkation.
  • Guests who cancel or change their reservation will receive a 100% cruise credit to be used for future sailing within 15 months of their original sail date by calling us at 1-866-325-2112 or 407-566-3510 or contacting their travel agent.
  • Note that this is a credit for future use and not a cash refund. The credit will be applied to standard prevailing rates and is itself non-refundable.
  • Guests currently booked on the July 13, July 18 or July 25, 2020, European sailings may delay their final payment to 30 days prior to their sailing.

Disney Magic sailings through May 8, 2020, and Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder Sailings through May 31, 2020

  • All guests scheduled to depart on the Disney Magic between now and May 8, 2020, and the Disney Dream, Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder between now and May 31, 2020, can change their reservation up until the day before embarkation.
  • Guests who cancel or change their reservation will receive a 100% cruise credit to be used for a future sailing within 12 months of their original sail date by calling Disney Cruise Line at 1-866-325-2112 or 407-566-3510 or contacting their travel agent.
  • Note that this is a credit for future use and not a cash refund. The credit will be applied to standard prevailing rates and is itself non-refundable.

Disney Cruise Line Coronavirus (COVID-19) Additional Information

Disney Cruise Line consistently receives among the highest public health inspection scores and has health and safety protocols in place. DCL has a comprehensive plan that outlines protocols for managing illness and closely follow the guidance of public health officials.

Some of Disney Cruise Line’s health procedures include:

  • Training all Crew Members on how best to prevent the spread of illness onboard.
  • A health screening completed by all guests and Crew Members to check for illness before they board the ship.
  • Extensive cleaning and sanitation of high-traffic areas (e.g., handrails, doorknobs and elevator buttons) and children’s facilities.
  • Cleaning of all staterooms twice a day, and additional disinfection when necessary.
  • Medical clinics on Disney Cruise Line’s ships staffed with experienced doctors and nurses and stocked with supplies and medications to treat a variety of illnesses.

According to public health authorities, guests can help prevent the spread of coronavirus (COVID-19) and many other illnesses by frequently washing their hands with soap and water for at least 20 seconds, especially after using the restroom and before eating. Parents should supervise their children to ensure they wash their hands thoroughly.

Additionally, Disney Cruise Line has hand sanitizer wipes and sanitation stations conveniently available in multiple places on its ships. Guests can also cover their nose and mouth with a tissue (or upper sleeve) when sneezing, and avoid sneezing or coughing into their hands or without covering their nose and mouth.

Disney Cruise Line will post new coronavirus updates online as policies evolve, public health guidance changes, or other information becomes available. Guests with specific questions may reach out to Disney Cruise Line’s Contact Center at 1-866-325-2112 or 407-566-3510 or contact their travel agent.

On that note, we’d highly recommend using a travel agent at this time, as they can deal with all of this for you. As noted above, there’s a lot of fluidity to DCL’s policies and protocol, and having someone else stay on top of this for you–and deal with Disney, if necessary–could save you a lot of time and headache right now.

To that end, if you want personalized recommendations for Disney Cruise Line itineraries, ships, and more, click here to get a cruise quote from a no-fee Authorized Disney Vacation Planner. They can find you all of the current discounts, and help you plan the details of your cruise!

Your Thoughts

Have you dealt with Disney Cruise Line during all of this? If you attempted to cancel or modify your sailing due to coronavirus, what was your experience like in dealing with DCL? Have you found or booked any particularly great discounts for future sailing dates aboard Disney Cruise Line? Are you apprehensive to cruise right now–or would you flat-out not do it? Any questions? Hearing feedback about your experiences is both interesting to us and helpful to other readers, so please share your thoughts below in the comments!

57 Responses to “Coronavirus Impact, Policies & Deals for Disney Cruise Line”
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