Disney Cruise Line Drops Nassau as Port of Call

Disney Cruise Line is dropping Nassau, Bahamas as a port of call on all cruise itineraries in September and October 2021.

The change is likely due to the fact that the CDC (Centers for Disease Control and Prevention) recently issued a Level 4 travel warning for American travelers visiting the Bahamas.

This announcement comes spite of the fact that Disney Cruise Line is now requiring all passengers over 12 years of age to have received the COVID-19 vaccine.

With this change, the itineraries that involved a port of call at Nassau will now have a day at sea or an additional stop at Castaway Cay.

Here is the updated itineraries –

On the 3-night sailings Nassau will be replaced by a sea day, and the 4-night will add a second stop at Castaway Cay. Emails are being sent to guests booked on the following sail dates to inform guests of the itinerary modification.

Disney Dream 3-night Sailings with an Itinerary Change
Friday September 10, 2021  3-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral 
Friday September 17, 2021 3-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral 
Friday September 24, 2021  3-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral 
Friday October 1, 2021 3-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral 
Friday October 8, 2021  3-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral

Disney Dream 4-night Sailings with an Itinerary Change
Monday September 13, 2021  4-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral 
Monday September 20, 2021  4-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral 
Monday September 27, 2021  4-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral
Monday October 4, 2021  4-Night Bahamian Cruise from Port Canaveral

Disney Cruise Line to Resume Bahamian Itineraries from Florida in August

Beginning August 9th, the Disney Dream will kick off the long-awaited return to cruising from the United States, with tropical voyages to the Bahamas departing from Port Canaveral, Florida.

Three and four-night cruises will visit Disney’s  private island, Castaway Cay, for an unforgettable vacation at sea.

Yolanda Cade, Director, Public Relations, Disney Signature Experience stated on the Disney Parks Blog recently –

I’m speaking on behalf of our entire cast and crew when I emphatically say, “We have missed you!” Right now, we’re working hard to get ready for your return, and our focus remains on operating in a responsible way while creating magic for all on board. That’s why we’ve enhanced our health and safety measures to promote wellness for guests and crew aboard our ships and in the destinations we visit.

Disney Cruise Line will not require vaccinations, but Disney will be requiring pre-trip and embarkation COVID-19 testing. Guests must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test (paid for at the Guest’s expense) taken between 5 days and 24 hours prior to the sail date ($98.33 per PCR test). Guests are then required to undergo a rapid PCR COVID-19 test ($65) at the terminal prior to boarding. Guests with positive COVID-19 test results, as well as those in their travel party, will be denied boarding.

Guests who are fully vaccinated may choose to provide proof of vaccination in order to be exempt from pre-trip and Embarkation Day testing requirements.

 

Disney Cruise Line Announces Test Cruises

According to sources, Disney Cruise Line has received approval to start test cruises at the end of June.

In the article, Thomas Mazloum who is President of Disney Signature Experiences shared an update with the news that the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) has given the line permission to do test cruises.

The announcement of test cruises means that Disney Cruise Line does not want to attempt to comply with the mandate of having at least 95% vaccinated passengers and 98% vaccinated crew members in order to bypass test cruises.

With the amount of children onboard this means too many guests would be unvaccinated, and as a result, test cruises are required.

Disney said that the test cruises will begin on June 29th from Port Canaveral and include only volunteers acting as passengers. The cruise will run through July 1st.

Here is what was shared by Thomas Mazloum:

I have some great news to share, team.

We received word that the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention has approved our application to conduct a simulation cruise in advance of resuming normal operations.

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.

We now have the green light to conduct our two-night simulation cruise aboard the Disney Dream from June 29 to July 1, sailing from Port Canaveral. The ship will sail with volunteer passengers and test our newly developed health and safety protocols, which have been meticulously tailored to the current public health environment. All of these protocols are essential to cruising responsibly, and Disney Cruise Line couldn’t be more committed to making vacation dreams come true as it prioritizes the wellbeing of all who step aboard our ships.

Today, as we move closer to restarting our U.S. cruises, I want to spotlight the tremendous resilience and positivity of the team. Your collaboration and continued enthusiasm throughout the pandemic have been nothing short of amazing, as we’ve researched, drafted, revised and refined our comprehensive roadmap for cruising again. It has been no small feat – and I’m extremely proud of everyone.

We will continue to evaluate our health and safety protocols, working closely with the CDC, and make adjustments as we work toward a full resumption of cruising. In the meantime, we can all take pride in the approval of our application with the CDC – a milestone that reflects the incredible talents of our entire team.

The ship that will be conducting the test cruise will be the Disney Dream.

At this time, Disney is the second known cruise line to get approval to start test cruises, following Royal Caribbean’s announcement last week.

It is important to note that volunteers must be at least 18 years old.  If they are not vaccinated, the CDC says they must have written documentation from a health care provider or must self certify that they aren’t at a heightened risk for COVID-19.

 

Disney Cruise Line Opens Pop Up Store in Disney Springs

You aren’t able to go on a Disney Cruise yet, so why not shop instead.

Now through early September, guests will be able to stop by the Marketplace Co-Op to shop exclusive collections including the traditional Disney Cruise Line Wave and Sail Away Minnie Mouse collections, as well as a selection from Castaway Cay, Disney Cruise Line’s private island in The Bahamas.

Guests should be prepared to sail away with trendy and nautical-themed spirit jerseys, T-shirts, and even matching styles for adults and kids so you and the family can all match.

You’ll be able to pack those perfect getaway essentials in adorable Disney Cruise Line Loungefly bags or with a classy luggage set.

Are you looking for gifts for Disney Cruise Line fans? You’ll be able to discover treasure that includes everything from mugs, magnets, luggage tags, hats to photo frames, and more.

Guests will also be able to check out the ship models for an up close and personal look of the Disney Dream and Disney Fantasy ships.

Disney Cruise Line Announces 2022 Itineraries and Departure Dates

Disney Cruise Line announced itineraries and departure dates for Summer 2022.  You will be able to sail to the ancient shores of the Mediterranean to explore must-see destinations such as the Greek Isles, a fan favorite offering stunning landscapes and archeological wonders. Visit other enchanting areas in Europe such as Norway and the British Isles. Voyage to Alaska for breathtaking scenery and adventure. Or cruise to the Bahamas and the Caribbean for relaxation on tropical beaches.

In addition, for the first summer ever, embark from Miami on select tropical adventures.

If you’re currently a Platinum, Gold or Silver Castaway Club member, take advantage of the opportunity to book our new cruises before they go on sale to the general public on March 25, 2021. You’ll be able to book Summer 2022 itineraries online or by phone during a designated booking window.

When to Book

  • March 22, 2021: Platinum Members
  • March 23, 2021: Platinum and Gold Members
  • March 24, 2021: Platinum, Gold and Silver Members
  • March 25, 2021: All Guests

How to book

  • Online: If you’re an existing member, simply log in to your account now to verify your Castaway Club status, so you’ll be all set to book on your designated date.
  • By Phone: Call (866) 784-1592 starting at 8:00 AM Eastern Time —or contact your travel agent.

If you have any questions about your Castaway Club status, please contact Disney Cruise Line at (800) 449-3380. Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.

If you’re currently a Disney Vacation Club Member, an Adventures by Disney Insider or a Golden Oak Club Member, you’re invited to enjoy the exclusive opportunity to book our new cruises before they go on sale to the general public on March 25, 2021.

When to Book

  • Golden Oak Club Members – Begins March 22, 2021 at 8:00 AM Eastern Time
  • Disney Vacation Club Members and Adventures by Disney Insiders – Begins March 24, 2021 at 8:00 AM Eastern Time

How to Book

  • Golden Oak Club Members: contact Golden Oak Club Member Services
  • Disney Vacation Club Members: to book with Reservation Points, call Member Services at (800) 800-9800; to make a cash-only booking, call Disney Cruise Line at (866) 325-6348 —or contact your travel agent
  • Adventures by Disney Insiders: Call (888) 272-0644 —or contact your travel agent

Guests under 18 years of age must have parent or guardian permission to call.

Marvel and Star Wars Days at Sea Return in 2022 for Disney Cruise Line

If you’re either a Marvel fan or a Star Wars fan (or both!) and like to cruise, then Disney Cruise Line gave you some very good news a few days ago.  Recently DCL announced that two fan-favorites are returning to the Disney Cruise Line ships in 2022!

Disney Cruise Line announced that both Marvel Day at Sea and Star Wars Day at Sea will be returning in 2022 for select cruise itineraries. These special itineraries include a day during the sailing that features everything Marvel or Star Wars, depending on the itinerary.

The Marvel Day at Sea intineraries will take place on the Disney Magic, and will embark from Miami.

The Star WarsDay at Sea cruises will sail from Port Canaveral, and will take place on the Disney Fantasy.

Marvel Day at Sea – Disney Magic

Sail Date Itinerary
January 8, 2022 5-Night Western Caribbean Cruise
January 17, 2022 5-Night Bahamian Cruise
January 22, 2022 5-Night Western Caribbean Cruise
January 31, 2022 5-Night Bahamian Cruise
February 5, 2022 5-Night Western Caribbean Cruise
February 14, 2022 5-Night Western Caribbean Cruise
February 19, 2022 5-Night Bahamian Cruise
February 28, 2022 5-Night Bahamian Cruise
March 5, 2022 5-Night Western Caribbean Cruise

Star Wars’ Day at Sea: Disney Fantasy

Sail Date Itinerary
January 8, 2022 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise
January 15, 2022 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise
January 22, 2022 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise
January 29, 2022 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise
February 5, 2022 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise
February 12, 2022 7-Night Western Caribbean Cruise
February 19, 2022 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise
February 26, 2022 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise
March 5, 2022 7-Night Eastern Caribbean Cruise

Disney Cruise Line Announces Date of Maiden Voyage of Newest Ship

It’s nearly two years away but Disney Cruise Line announced earlier today that the maiden voyage of its newest ship will have its maiden voyage is set for the Summer of 2022.

The Wish will weigh in at about 144,000 gross tons and include 1,250 staterooms, according to Disney. That makes it slightly larger than Disney’s current ships, the Dream and the Fantasy. It will be powered by clean-burning liquefied natural gas.

Disney has otherwise been mostly quiet about the ship’s amenities. The company showed off a rendering of a three-story, fairytale-inspired atrium. The stern will feature a picture of Rapunzel, who Disney said embodies the desire to see the world.

Walt Disney World and Disney Cruise Line COVID-19 Updates

No big stories today, just a few updates….

First with the good news.  Walt Disney is one step closer to opening.  Yesterday, it was announced that Disney had reached an agreement with the unions that represent workers at Walt Disney World on safeguards to protect employees from coronavirus, removing one of the company’s hurdles to reopening its popular theme parks.

In the agreement Disney ensured that anyone who contracts COVID-19 will have paid time off to quarantine.  Also, Cast Members will be trained on how to conduct self-assessments regarding symptoms of COVID-19 at home..  Disney will provide a thermometer to anyone who requests one.  Cast Members who have COVID-19 can call in free of attendance discipline.

The safeguards include social distancing practices, increased cleaning and mandatory masks for workers and guests, according to a statement from the Service Trades Council Union, which represents about 43,000 workers at Walt Disney World in Orlando, Florida.

And now the bad news….

The Walt Disney World operating hours calendar now shows the parks closed through June 6th (previously it was May 30).

With that, Disney is in the process of cancelling Walt Disney World Resort hotel reservations for early June.  According to sources, the latest cancellation notification we have seen so far is for an arrival on June 7, although some guests with earlier stays are yet to be contacted.

According to the Orlando Sentinel, Disney Cruise Line won’t sail again until at least July 31 after announcing another round of cruise cancellations amid the coronavirus pandemic.

In a statement on its website, the cruise line said it was suspending departures through Monday, July 27. That means the earliest any of its four ships would sail would be Disney Dream from Port Canaveral on July 31 and Disney Fantasy also from the port on August 1.

Disney Magic, which would be sailing in Europe, would not have its first sailing until August 5 and Disney Wonder, which would be sailing Alaska would not sail until August 3.

The line is offering either a full refund or the option to rebook the sailing with a cruise credit incentive for any sailing within 15 months of the canceled departure.

 

Disneyland Resort and Walt Disney World Resort to Close due to COVID-19

As you may have heard the Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort and Disneyland Paris Resort will be closing until the end of the month due to the COVID-19 outbreak.  In addition the Disney Cruise Line will suspend all departures until the end of the month.

In official statements Disney stated –

Disneyland  Resort-

While there have been no reported cases of COVID-19 at Disneyland Resort, after carefully reviewing the guidelines of the Governor of California’s executive order and in the best interest of our guests and employees, we are proceeding with the closure of Disneyland Park and Disney California Adventure Park, beginning the morning of March 14 through the end of the month.

The Hotels of Disneyland Resort will remain open until Monday, March 16 to give guests the ability to make necessary travel arrangements; Downtown Disney will remain open. We will monitor the ongoing situation and follow the advice and guidance of federal and state officials and health agencies. Disney will continue to pay cast members during this time.

Disneyland Resort will work with guests who wish to change or cancel their visits, and will provide refunds to those who have hotel bookings during this closure period. We anticipate heavy call volume over the next several days and appreciate guests’ patience as we work hard to respond to all inquiries.

Please contact The Walt Disney Travel Company for questions and cancellations at (714) 520-5050.

Walt Disney World, Disneyland Paris & Disney Cruise Line –

Disney made the decision to close the Disneyland Resort following guidance from the state of California on restricting mass gatherings.

At the Walt Disney World theme parks, Disney has installed portable hand-washing stations in addition to the hand sanitizer stations that have been in place for the last few weeks.

Walt Disney World has also installed new signage around the parks giving public health recommendations, including frequent hand washing, covering mouth and nose when coughing or sneezing, and to seek medical attention if experiencing flu-like symptoms.

Walt Disney World has also added an FAQ section to their announcement:

PARK TICKETS

May I get a refund on my ticket?

Unexpired multi-day theme park tickets with unused days, or date-specific theme park tickets with a start date on or before March 31, 2020 will automatically be extended to use any date through December 15, 2020.

If you are unable to visit by December 15, 2020 you may apply the value of a wholly unused ticket toward the purchase of a ticket for a future date.

Will the spring special Florida Resident Discover Disney Tickets be extended?

Florida Resident Discover Disney Tickets may be used through July 31, 2020.

What about tickets for special events slated to occur during the closure?

Guests who have purchased tickets for Disney After Hours, Disney Villains After Hours and Disney Early Morning Magic from March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020 will be automatically refunded.

Will Annual Passes to Walt Disney World be extended?

Walt Disney World Annual Passes will be extended by the number of days the parks are closed.

RESORTS & HOTELS

I have a future stay at a Walt Disney World Resort hotel while the park is closed. What does that mean for my vacation?

Guests who have not checked in for stays between March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020 may modify or cancel their Disney Resort room reservation or Walt Disney Travel Company package up to their original check-in date.

If no action is taken, Disney will automatically process a refund to the original form of payment within seven days of the original check-in date. If you did not book through Disney directly, please contact your travel professional.

What if I want to cancel a Disney Resort hotel reservation after the parks reopen?

Disney will waive all Disney imposed change and cancellation fees up to the date of check-in through June 30, 2020.

DINING & OTHER EXPERIENCES

I have a pre-paid dining reservation or experience reservation like Droid Depot or Savi’s Workshop while the parks are closed. Will I receive a refund?

Yes.

All pre-paid dining and experience reservations will be automatically refunded if scheduled between March 16, 2020 through March 31, 2020.

What happens to FastPass+ reservations made during the closure?

They are automatically canceled without replacement.

What happens to dining reservations that required a credit card at the time of booking?

Reservations made at locations impacted by the closure will not be charged a cancellation or no-show fee.

What follows is not official information that Walt Disney World has provided, and is instead opinions made by the Disney Tourist Blog

Will the Walt Disney World theme parks reopen on April 1, 2020?

That remains to be seen.

While the official FAQ answers are treating this as everything magically returning to business as normal come April 1, 2020, we would caution you against having that expectation. It’s simply a matter of Disney wanting to be cautious and not triggering a wave of cancellations beyond then.

It’s moderately instructive to see how this outbreak has played out elsewhere, particularly in countries that have not engaged in aggressive early-stage containment. Japan is a decent example, and original 2-week closures there were just extended another 2 weeks, to be reevaluated at that time.

If the closure is extended, expect Walt Disney World’s official answers above to be modified in accordance with any subsequent extensions.

When do you think Walt Disney World will reopen? 

I don’t have the slightest idea. This such a dynamic and evolving situation–and one that remains in its early stages in the United States. I’m hopeful it can be resolved as quickly and safely as possible with aggressive measures and diligence, but I’m skeptical.

With all of that said, my personal best case scenario is Walt Disney World reopening at some point in mid to late April 2020. If I had a trip planned in or before May 2020, I’d begin processing the very real possibility that it might not occur.

Will Disney Springs remain open during the closure?

Officially, yes.

However, that’s because the vast majority of businesses there are owned and operated by third parties. Expect those to independently announce closures in turn, effectively rendering most of Disney Springs substantively closed.

What about the resort hotels?

Officially, those are remaining opening for existing bookings–primarily guests who have already arrived. Walt Disney World cannot exactly kick guests, many of whom came from literally all over the world and cannot instantly rebook return international flights, to the curb with two days’ notice.

Depending upon the actual duration of this closure, we anticipate resort operations to wind down at some point.

What about Disney Vacation Club points? 

As DVC members are not doubt aware, there are a lot of intricacies and nuance (for lack of better terms) governing the rules of DVC point use years, banking, holding accounts, and so forth.

We have a trip starting in 4+ days and I have a unique question, what should I do?

Wait and see.

The above FAQ was posted as Walt Disney World scrambled to address common questions because they’re website went down last night and call volume was so high that the lines were literally busy. Unless your trip is starting in the next 2 days, we would encourage patience (and we know that’s difficult).

You’ll save yourself stress and headaches in calling, waiting on hold for 5 hours, only to find out the answer is “I don’t know yet.” Everything we’ve seen thus far indicates Disney is going above and beyond to make things right here, and your answer will probably come to you if you’re just patient.

We have a trip slated to start during the closure but continue when the park is slated to reopen in April. What should we do?

Wait and see. (Are you spotting a trend here?)

As noted above, there’s no guarantee that the parks will reopen at the beginning of April 2020. Moreover, you have some time before you “need” an answer, so we’d encourage waiting for more info–it’ll be released as it becomes available.

We have a vacation scheduled for April 2020 or beyond, what should we do?

Wait and see.

There’s truly no benefit to acting preemptively. If Walt Disney World reopens and you’re comfortable to travel, great. If the parks do not open or you’re not comfortable to travel, you will certainly have the option to cancel or postpone without penalty at a later date.

UPDATE: The Walt Disney Travel Company is requesting that anyone with a check-in date after March 2020 not call right now so the lines are clear for more urgent travelers.

Should I call Walt Disney World now for [insert question or concern]?

Phone wait times in the next couple of days will be measured in hours, and will put Free Dining release day to shame.

Before calling, ask yourself what your time is worth, what the likelihood is of receiving an answer that satisfies your question, and the chances that Disney won’t proactively address your concerns at some point in the near future.

I spoke with a clueless customer service rep after waiting on hold for 6 hours, should I scream at them?

There’s a good chance that “clueless” customer service rep was totally in the dark about this (and to a large degree, still is) until arriving at work. There’s an even stronger probability they’ve been dealing with not-so-patient customers all day, and that they are overstressed, underpaid, and overworked.

Finally, there’s 100% certainty the person at whom you’d be yelling did not personally and unilaterally choose to close Walt Disney World or craft the policy you dislike. If the idea of kindness for its own sake is too much to grasp, just remember that (selfishly!) you can catch more flies with honey than with vinegar.

We booked tickets/hotel/etc. via a third party, what is their refund policy?

We’d recommend contacting them directly. No third parties were consulted or notified about Walt Disney World’s plans to close, meaning all of them were caught off-guard and left scrambling to come up with policies.

This is an unprecedented and already catastrophic event for businesses–they’re figuring it out on the fly. We’d stress patience.

Normally we don’t report news from “that park down the road” aka Universal Studios Orlando, but they will also be closing –

Out of an abundance of caution and to assist with our nation’s preventive efforts, Universal Orlando Resort will temporarily close its theme parks. The closure is effective Monday, March 16th. We anticipate remaining closed through the end of March – but will continue to evaluate the situation.

Universal Orlando’s hotels and Universal CityWalk will remain open.

We have created flexible programs for those guests who have booked travel packages or tickets with us. Guests can call this number for more information: 877-801-9720.

 

 

Disney Retires Shop Parks app, shopDisney to be Sole Online Shop

Earlier today Disney announced on the Disney Parks Blog that shopDisney.com is set to become the one-stop online shop for all things Disney as the Shop Disney Parks app will be retired at the end of the month.

According to Disney, the Shop Disney Parks app will be retired on May 31.  When this happens shopDisney.com and the shopDisney app will become the ultimate online retail location for all things Disney including Parks merchandise.

If guests go to the Shop Disney Parks app they will see a message upon opening which explains the retirement of the shopping application and providing a link to download the shopDisney app.

Disney has stated that shopDisney will offer an even larger selection of favorite items from Disneyland Resort, Walt Disney World Resort, Disney Cruise Line, Disney, Pixar, Star Wars and more.

At Walt Disney World Resort, My Disney Experience will continue to offer popular shopping features for guests including an availability map or the ability to ship select merchandise to home (U.S. addresses only) when guests order through the My Disney Experience

Annual Passholder and Disney Vacation Club Members will also continue to receive their eligible discounts through the My Disney Experience app.

This does not really surprise me.  Disney had to have realized what I have always experienced with the Shop Parks app.  I have rarely had a pleasant experience.  The availability function with the app was essentially useless.  There have been many times when the app said that an item was out of stock at particular locations, yet there were dozens on the shelves. That was on top of the duplication of the shopping experience.  You never knew where to look for things.  Stuff that should have been park exclusive was seldom available on Shop Parks, yet at times could be found on shopDisney.

I admire the intention of developing and implementation of Shop Parks, but it just never met expectations and was a disappointment.  I’m glad Disney realized this and is moving on.