Disney Cruise Line extended its suspension again this week, halting all of its cruises through Jan. 31, 2021, as COVID-19 continues to spread.
The suspension canceled sailings of the Disney Magic, Wonder and Dream through Feb. 1 and the Disney Fantasy through Feb. 6.
“Our team at Disney Cruise Line 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 U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and are working toward resuming operations.”
Guests who had already paid in full for the affected voyages will be offered a refund or a credit for a future cruise, according to Disney. Guests who hadn’t paid in full will automatically receive a refund for what they had paid.
A full list of Disney Cruise Line’s affected sailings is available online here.
Disney has relaxed its cancellation fee schedule for sailings through May. Guests who book by Dec. 31 for cruises that are scheduled to sail by May 31 can also change their sail date until 15 days before departure. And any guests with COVID-19 symptoms or exposure can cancel their trip for a full refund within 14 days of sailing.
The extended suspension came the same week that the CDC rated the risk of catching COVID-19 on a cruise ship “very high.” The federal health agency has lifted its no-sail order for cruise ships, but is still recommending that travelers avoid cruises and it has set a lengthy set of health safety requirements that cruise lines must meet in order to carry passengers in U.S. waters.
Disney isn’t the only cruise line to cancel trips in response to the pandemic. On Tuesday, the British Carnival Corp. brand P&O Cruises said it was pausing its operations through April. Last week, Princess Cruises said it was canceling all its voyages through March 31 and trips longer than a week in and out of U.S. ports through Nov. 1, nearly a year away. And other mayor cruise lines including Carnival and Royal Caribbean have also canceled trips into next year.
In order to begin voyaging again, the cruise operators will need to prove to the CDC that they can do everything they normally do with coronavirus precautions in place. The cruise lines will need to hold mock voyages with volunteer passengers. Last week, Royal Caribbean CEO Michael Bayley said the company had been contacted by more than 100,000 people volunteering for any test cruises it runs.
When cruises do begin running again, the CDC is recommending passengers get tested between three and five days after the trip and isolate at home for a week.
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