Disney Cruise Line resumes US sailings from Florida in August with Disney Dream

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Disney Cruise Line announced Friday it will resume its Florida cruises Aug. 9.

"We're ready to welcome you aboard and set sail once again," Disney Signature Experiences President Thomas Mazloum said in a video posted on Instagram. Mazloum oversees Disney Cruise Line, Disney Vacation Club and Adventures by Disney, among other divisions.

The first sailings with paying passengers in the USA since the coronavirus pandemic began will be on board the Disney Dream. The three- and four-night cruises will set sail from Port Canaveral, Florida, and visit Disney Castaway Cay, the cruise line's private island in the Bahamas.

"We are resuming sailing in a gradual, phased approach that emphasizes multiple layers of health and safety measures, developed in consideration of guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other medical experts," Disney Cruise Line wrote in an advisory to guests.

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The cruise line said it was preparing its Disney Fantasy and Disney Wonder ships for sailings. Disney Magic offers short sailings in the U.K. this summer, exclusively for British residents.

New health and safety measures

  • Vaccinations are "strongly encouraged" but will not be required on Disney Dream sailings from Florida. Guests who show proof of vaccination can skip required coronavirus testing.

  • Everyone who does not show proof of vaccination must take a coronavirus test before leaving home and at port and have negative results from both tests to board the ship.

  • Face masks will be required in "most indoor public areas" for all guests age 2 and up.

  • Hand sanitizer stations will be located throughout the ship and the cruise line's private island.

  • Ship capacity will be reduced to allow for more social distancing.

The cruise line said there will be twice-daily stateroom cleanings, new air purification systems and extra attention paid to high-touch surfaces.

"While some things may look a bit different for now, you can rest assured that the dazzling entertainment, impeccable service and attention to detail that have long defined Disney vacations remain the same," Mazloum said.

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What happens if there's COVID-19 on board?

Disney Cruise Line said experienced doctors and other medical crew will be available on board to screen for and respond to coronavirus symptoms.

Its website said, "If a threshold of COVID-19 is detected on board the cruise ship during a voyage, the voyage will be ended immediately and the ship will return to the U.S. port of embarkation, and your subsequent travel, including your return home, may be restricted or delayed. ... By sailing with Disney Cruise Line you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19 and agree to follow all health and safety measures implemented by Disney Cruise Line and any relevant governments and authorities."

Can I cancel my cruise?

The cruise line said guests with COVID-19 symptoms or exposure may cancel their bookings within 14 days of sailing and get a full refund or apply their fares toward future sailings without Disney's usual cancellation fees. Guests without COVID-19 concerns will have a "relaxed cancellation fee schedule" this year.

Guests who book sailings by July 31 for travel this year can change their sail date up to 15 days before their scheduled departure.

Disney test cruise

Days before the return-to-sail announcement, Disney Dream completed a two-night test sailing, which had been postponed because of inconsistent coronavirus tests among crew.

The simulation cruise, approved by the CDC, included roughly 300 Disney cruise employees and their guests.

It was the first cruise out of Port Canaveral since cruising shut down in March 2020 during the pandemic, according to Florida Today, part of the USA TODAY Network.

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This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Disney cruises return to Florida with Disney Dream sailing in August

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