A Disney cruise without little kids? The lengths the line is going to so it can keep sailing

Sep 7, 2021

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Have you always wanted to sail on a Disney Cruise Line ship that wasn’t overrun with kids? Now’s your chance.

The family-focused cruise operator on Friday announced plans to only allow passengers vaccinated for COVID-19 on an upcoming Disney Wonder sailing through the Panama Canal. That means that — assuming vaccination eligibility rules don’t change in the coming weeks  — no children under the age of 12 would be allowed on the voyage.

Children under the age of 12 currently are not eligible for a COVID-19 vaccine.

The vaccination policy for this one sailing, which kicks off 5 November in San Diego, is far more restrictive than what Disney has implemented on other voyages since it resumed limited operations in July.

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For all other sailings, Disney is allowing children under the age of 12 to sail without a COVID-19 vaccine as long as they test negative before boarding. Passengers 12 and older must be fully vaccinated for COVID-19 on Disney ships.

Disney hasn’t given a reason for the unusually restrictive vaccination requirements for the Panama Canal sailing. But at 14 nights, the trip is much longer than is typical for a Disney voyage. It also will feature significantly more days at sea than is typical for a Disney cruise and periods when the ship is far from a major port.

The combination of these factors could make it more difficult for the line to contain a COVID-19 outbreak among unvaccinated passengers than on a more typical Disney voyage.

The Panama Canal sailing will be a one-way voyage from San Diego to Galveston, Texas, that will feature stops in Cabo San Lucas and Puerto Vallarta on the Pacific side of Mexico before the ship reaches the Panama Canal. After crossing the Panama Canal to the Atlantic Ocean, Disney Wonder will visit Cartagena, Colombia, and Cozumel, Mexico, before proceeding to Galveston.

The trip will end in Galveston on 19 November.

Disney’s announcement on Friday came as the line revealed plans to restart sailings out of San Diego on 1 October with Disney Wonder. The 1,754-passenger vessel initially will operate a series of three- and four-night sailings to Mexico out of the port with stops in either Ensenada or Cabo San Lucas.

For these shorter sailings, only passengers 12 and older must be fully vaccinated against COVID-19. Passengers under the age of 11 are not required to be vaccinated but must show proof of a negative COVID-19 test taken before travelling to the ship. They’ll also be tested a second time for COVID-19 upon embarkation.

Feature image by Summer Hull / The Points Guy.

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