Disney Cruise Line to Require Vaccines for Kids 5 Years and Older

If you’re planning a family vacation aboard Disney Cruise Line next year, be sure to get your vaccine shot. That goes for just about everyone in the family, as the cruise line says it will now require vaccines for passengers aged five years and older staring January 13, 2022.

Disney Cruise Line terminal in Port Canaveral

On a webpage outlining the new protocols and policies regarding health aboard the ship, the following message now appears:

“Currently, Disney Cruise Line continues to require all vaccine-eligible Guests (based on US eligibility requirements) to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19, as defined by the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at the time of sailing. This will be a requirement for all Guests (US and international) ages 5 and up for sailings beginning on or after January 13, 2022.”

The cruise line says that kids under 12 can continue to sail unvaccinated until then, but require a negative test taken at least 24 hours (but not more than three days) before boarding. After January 13, 2022, children under five years old will still be able to sail, but will need to take the test before arriving at the terminal. 

All guests on Disney ships — regardless of age or vaccine status — are required to test negative at the terminal before boarding the ship.

The notice posted on the Disney Cruise Line website regarding the age requirements for shots.

Potential Influence on Other Cruise Lines?

This updated policy marks an important point in the question surrounding kids, vaccines, and cruises. While the shot was just opened to kids 5-11, cruise lines so far have not jumped to require them.

As we reported, Carnival recently said they would “encourage” parents to consider vaccines in order to sail without needing a special exemption. (Carnival only allows a limited number of kids to sail without the shot on each cruise.) Kids wanting to play in its Camp Ocean area will require the shot.

Royal Caribbean’s CEO Michael Bayley said his cruise line was looking at the situation but had not yet made a decision.

“Our initial data shows us — which we think will change — that 35% are thinking of having their children between five and twelve vaccinated. We believe that that number will increase and change. So we’re watching the situation,” Bayley said.

With Disney taking the leap of requiring the shot for kids aged 5-11, it may be a milestone in how other cruise lines approach their own requirements. After all, Disney Cruise Line isn’t just a “family-friendly” line such as Carnival or Royal Caribbean. It is designed specifically for families — especially those with smaller kids.

Their decision could be influential on other cruise lines and what they decide to do as the vaccine rolls out for younger children.

Disney currently sails four ships from the United States: Dream, Fantasy, Magic, and Wonder. Fantasy has “yellow” status from the CDC, indicating the potential for having a virus case aboard the ship within the past seven days. All other Disney ships have “green” status at this time.

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