Tuesday, August 24, 2021

DCL Will Require Guests 12 and Older to be Fully Vaccinated on Cruises to the Bahamas Starting September 3rd

Today, August 24th, Disney announced that starting on September 3rd, all guests age 12 and older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19 to sail on a cruise that visits the Bahamas.  This announcement was made because the Bahamian government recently announced that starting in September, everyone 12 and older is required to be fully vaccinated for a ship to be allowed to enter the country.  Even though the Dream is only currently visiting Castaway Cay, guests 12 and older are still required to be fully vaccinated.  Castaway Cay is Disney's private island, but it's still part of the Bahamas, so this requirement impacts it.  As of now, this mandate will remain in place until November 1st, 2021.  

The Bahamian government's announcement didn't leave Disney with much of a choice.  At the moment, all of their cruises from the US only visit the Bahamas.  So, if they want to keep going there, they need to comply with the Bahamian government's requirements.  If Disney chose not to mandate vaccinations, where could they go on a 3-night or 4-night cruise instead of the Bahamas?  They can't do Magic at Sea cruises from the United States (thanks, Passenger Vessel Services Act).  There also isn't any port of call other than Castaway Cay where they are in control of the entire experience.  Since DCL wants to keep going back to Castaway Cay, guests 12 and older will have to be fully vaccinated on the Dream, as well as the Fantasy when it resumes cruises on September 11th.

In addition to needing to be fully vaccinated, guests need to prove that they're fully vaccinated.  They can do this by using the Safe Passage website to upload their vaccination card.  This same website also must be used to upload results of a negative COVID-19 test for all guests under 12.  If you're going on a Disney cruise between September 3rd and November 1st, be sure to check the DCL website for more information.

Getting fully vaccinated isn't a quick process, since the United States CDC considers someone to be fully vaccinated two weeks after they receive the final dose.  Not being fully vaccinated will likely prevent some people from going on cruises they had planned, but conveniently, anyone booked on a cruise that visits the Bahamas from September 3rd to November 1st is able to change their reservation or cancel it without any negative effects like fees.  

I don't know if the Bahamas will continue to require cruise ship passengers 12 and older to be fully vaccinated after November 1st, but if so, Disney will have to require it on cruises that visit the Bahamas.  Be sure to visit the DCL website for the most detailed and up-to-date information.

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