Disney Cruise Line Institutes Temporary Policy Changes Allowing Guests to Cancel Sailings for Full Refund Toward Future Cruise Along with New Screenings at Embarkation Due to Coronavirus Threat (COVID-19)

Disney Cruise Line announced new temporary policy changes allowing guests booked on upcoming cruises to cancel up to 24 hours before departure with a full refund towards a future Disney Cruise Sailing as a result of the looming threat of Coronavirus (COVID-19) among passengers and crew members. Disney Cruise Line addressed concerns for guests with upcoming sailings between now and May 31, 2020 and European cruises aboard the Disney Magic through a July 25, 2020. Additionally, upon embarkation, passenger and crew members will have their temperature check by a nurse with a no touch thermometer prior to boarding.

The following guidelines have been updated to include temperature checks for all guests prior to boarding and additional guidance for guests sailing to The Bahamas and Jamaica. These guidelines are likely to continue to change over time as additional details become available. Please note that major changes to the current policy are bolded for your convenience.

  • As is always our practice, we screen all guests and crew members before they board, and anyone who feels unwell with gastrointestinal or flu-like symptoms (fever over 100.4º F, chills, cough or difficulty breathing) will not be permitted to sail.
  • Beginning Friday, March 6, all guests and crew members will have their temperature checked by a nurse with a no touch thermometer prior to boarding. Additional medical screening will be required for anyone with a temperature of 100.4º F or greater, and they along with their travel party may be unable to sail. 
  • If your client’s cruise includes a stop in Nassau or Castaway Cay, please note that The Bahamas will not allow anyone to disembark in any Bahamian port if they have been to China, South Korea, Italy or Iran in the past 20 days prior to arrival. These guests and Crew Members may be able to sail but will be unable to visit The Bahamas.
  • If your client’s cruise includes a stop in Jamaica, please note that in addition to the locations noted above, officials there also will not allow guests who have traveled from, to or through Singapore within 14 days of arrival to disembark. These guests will be unable to sail.
  • As a reminder, any guest or crew member who has traveled from, to or through China, including Hong Kong and Macau, South Korea, Italy, Iran or Japan, within 14 days of departure will not be able to board our ships.
  • Additionally, any guest or crew member who has been in contact with someone from these areas, including guests with connecting flights in these locations, also will not be able to board, nor will anyone who has helped care for someone suspected of having or diagnosed with COVID-19, or who is currently subject to health monitoring for possible exposure. Guests who have air travel booked through Disney Cruise Line will automatically have their flights rebooked on an alternate route. Guests who booked their own air travel arrangements should contact their airlines directly to make the appropriate changes.
  • Finally, guests scheduled to sail between now and May 31, 2020, can now change their reservation up until the day before embarkation and receive a 100% cruise credit to be used for a future sailing within 12 months of their original sail date. You can make this change by calling 1-866-325-2112. The credit is non-refundable and standard prevailing rates will apply.

Disney Cruise Line anticipates high call volume during this time so please be understanding and patient as Disney Cruise Line works with all Travel Professionals and Guests who have bookings during this timeframe. Disney Cruise Line will be starting with reservations in March and will trigger deployment beginning today. This will possibly go through next week, based on call volume.

Later in the day, Disney Cruise Line issued an update expanding the temporary adjustments to its cancelation policy to provide more flexibility for its guests. Guests currently booked on European cruises through a July 25, 2020 departure date can change their guests’ reservation up until the day before the guests’ embarkation and the guests will receive a 100% cruise credit to be used for a future sailing within 15 months of their original sail date. The credit is non-refundable and standard prevailing rates will apply.

Alternatively, guests currently booked on the July 13, July 18 and July 25 European sailings in 2020 may delay their final payment to 30 days prior to the sailing.

We have learned that if you opt to move to a new sail date, and the new sailing costs less than the credit you are receiving, the remaining credit will be placed on your onboard account as a nonrefundable onboard credit (OBC).

This is a PDF of the multiple email correspondence Disney Cruise Line will be sending out on the March 6, 2020 Coronavirus Update for guests booked on sailings through May 31, 2020.

DCL Cancelation Tempature Screening Coronavirus Email 20200306

The U.S. Department of State issued an update on March 5th urging U.S. citizens to reconsider travel by cruise ship to or within Asia. However, they did not expand this warning elsewhere only saying U.S. citizens planning travel by cruise ship elsewhere should be aware that, due to the current public health situation, many countries have implemented strict screening procedures in order to prevent the spread of the novel coronavirus that causes COVID-19.

This is a dynamic situation and U.S. citizens traveling by ship may be impacted by travel restrictions affecting their itineraries or ability to disembark, or may be subject to quarantine procedures implemented by the local authorities. While the U.S. government has successfully evacuated hundreds of our citizens in the previous weeks, repatriation flights should not be relied upon as an option for U.S. citizens under the potential risk of quarantine by local authorities. U.S. citizens should evaluate the risks associated with choosing to remain in an area that may be subject to quarantine and take the appropriate proactive measures. Passengers who plan to travel by cruise ship should contact their cruise line companies directly for further information on the current rules and restrictions, and continue to monitor the Travel.state.gov website and see the latest information from the

travel.state.gov Current Outbreak of Coronavirus Disease 2019 | Emergency Notification – March 5, 2020

Disney is not the only cruise line taking steps to mitigate the threat of Coronavirus. Royal Caribbean announced on Thursday they would begin mandatory temperature screenings to their embarkation check-in process to further screen passengers as well as crew members for Coronavirus. Today, Royal announced Royal Caribbean International, Celebrity Cruises, Azamara and Silversea guest may cancel up to 48 hours before a sailing through July 31st and will receive a full credit for their fare, usable on any future sailing of the guest’s choice in 2020 or 2021. Princess Cruise Lines issued temporary cancellation policy for departures through May 31st, and finally payment policy change for June 2020 sailings. Carnival Cruise Lines issued a similar set of policy changes for cruises through May 31, 2020.

Special thanks to Tammy from Storybook Destinations for her assistance with this post.

16 Replies to “Disney Cruise Line Institutes Temporary Policy Changes Allowing Guests to Cancel Sailings for Full Refund Toward Future Cruise Along with New Screenings at Embarkation Due to Coronavirus Threat (COVID-19)”

  1. Michael Hodges

    Do you have to pick a new cruise at the time of cancellation, or can you keep the credit and book another cruise at a later date within the 12 month window?

    1. Lorie R

      After 3.5 hours on hold…. you can opt to cancel and hold as a credit (for a sailing within 12 months) or you can go ahead and alter your reservation to a selected cruise within 12 months of sail date. Make sure to decide this before you call as the phone tree sends you in two different places (it was a shorter hold for credit). This is not a refund, Disney continues to hold your money on the cruise you have already paid in full. FYI I was also placed on a further hold to ensure my onboard credits (10% discount) for reserving on a prior cruise were ported over, which they were.

  2. Delta 2038

    Does this policy ALL Disney ships sailing prior to May 31? I would think so, but the PDF has more specific times and ships than the blog post itself. Thanks!

  3. Kelly

    This headline is highly misleading – no full refunds are being issued, rather credits toward a future cruise in 12 months.

    1. Rich

      Looking at rebooking, it looks like Disney is price gouging and my rescheduled cruse is now 30-50% more for the same cruise.

  4. Keith

    It will be interesting to see when they start rerouting or entirely cancelling cruises as there are a number of cruises in May/June that make several stops or even depart from Italy. I wonder at what point (% empty) Disney actually cancels a cruise vs. scrambling to re-route it to avoid Italy entirely.

    1. BartmanLA

      I suspect they’re banking on the virus burning itself out by the time they have to make a decision about the Mediterranean cruises. They’re using the window for rebooking until May to see what direction this pandemic goes.

  5. Gordon Green

    The headline is misleading. It’s not a refund. It’s a credit for a future cruise which must be used within a year. So if you’re booked on the Hawaii cruises and wish to cancel you’ll have to go somewhere else as they only offer the cruise every several years.

  6. louis dulien

    Great! cancelled our reservation 2 days ago specifically due to this situation. filed a claim with travel insurance, they said I’d be getting 75% refund/credit for rebooking from Disney. If I had waited 2 days, I wouldn’t be out $2,500. Hoping they do the right thing and retroactively give me 100% credit instead of 75%

  7. Rose

    I have never spent this amount of money on a vacation. However, I feel my only option is to cancel for safety reasons as a cruise ship is like a Petri dish. If they offered 50% of my cash back I would cancel but the rescheduling option is not much of an option because the Coronavirus will still be around in a year. Maybe they could put it towards a vacation to Disney World or Disney Land?

  8. LG

    Just got off the Dream and was impressed with all that Disney is doing to mitigate – along with the temp check, they had sanitizing wipes everywhere including at various points in the buffet line. Some would use a wipe when picking up the utensils, and you could also grab another wipe after getting all of your food & before eating. Also, at the ice cream station rather than everyone get their Own, there was a cast member working the ice cream machine.

  9. James Bingham

    Make no mistake about it. DISNEY is stealing from all of us. They should refund customers all of their money. The Trump administration is planning on giving them tax credits (bailout Obama style) which means we bail them out with our tax dollars. The credit policy is very misleading and dishonest. Disney Cruise LInes, do the right thing and refund anyone who cancels 100%. Otherwise, you are theives.

  10. Walter Clark

    We were scheduled to sail March 7 but cancelled because of COVID 19. We’ve had no luck getting a cash refund to date. Any suggestions?


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