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Disney Cruise Line, Disney Magic
Credit: Disney

Disney Cruise Line Guests Denied Disembarkation in St. Thomas Due to COVID-19 Cases On-Board

The cruise industry has had a particularly difficult time navigating the COVID-19 pandemic, Disney Cruise Line included. Guests who have cruised aboard Disney Cruise Line since its reopening last year have generally shared overwhelmingly positive feedback primarily due to the lowered capacity on the ships.

Credit: Disney

Additionally, Disney Cruise Line, and most other cruise lines across the industry, have rigorous testing and vaccination requirements Guests and crew members must follow in order to board the ships, leading many travelers to feel safe planning cruise vacations even while the Omicron variant of COVID-19 is currently surging. Still, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) recently conducted an investigation on the cruise line industry regarding best practices for operating during COVID-19, and later the organization released a statement advising people against cruising at this time altogether due to the high risk of transmission while in enclosed spaces.

Despite all of the planning and health guidelines in place for cruising at this time, cruise vacations can still be unpredictable. One instance of this came last week, when Guests cruising aboard the Disney Fantasy were denied access to St. Thomas on December 30, 2021, and instead needed to stay onboard the cruise ship spending the extra day at sea.

Credit: Disney

Guests were traveling with Disney Cruise Line on a seven-night cruise aboard the Disney Fantasy when they were made aware that the ship would not be calling on St. Thomas, a destination included in the original itinerary. The cruise departed from Port Canaveral and spent the rest of the seven-night vacation following the itinerary as scheduled, with multiple days at sea and stops at Tortola (British Virgin Islands) and Castaway Cay, Disney’s private island in the Bahamas.

During last week’s cruise, port authorities in St. Thomas did not allow disembarkation for Guests aboard the Disney Fantasy due to a small percentage (less than 1%) of Guests and Cast Members who were currently in isolation for testing positive for COVID-19 on-board the ship.

Port of St. Thomas

Port of St. Thomas, US Virgin Islands

A Disney Spokesperson shared the following statement with our affiliate site, Disney Dining:

“The Disney Fantasy did not call on St. Thomas today due to both an increase in COVID-19 cases on the island and a small number of fully vaccinated Crew Members and Guests – less than 1% of those on board – in isolation for COVID-19. Those affected by these breakthrough cases are either asymptomatic or have mild symptoms, and we are following CDC protocols for managing cases on board. We continue to operate with multiple layers of health and safety protocols in place, such as requiring vaccinations, PCR tests at the port prior to embarkation for all guests, testing of our Crew multiple times per week, enhanced cleaning protocols and a requirement that masks be worn in all indoor spaces.”

The other Disney Cruise Line ships, the Disney Wonder, Disney Magic, and Disney Dream have so far not run into similar issues while calling on ports. Additionally, the newest ship to join the Disney Cruise Line fleet, the Disney Wish, will begin cruising later this year.

If you have a Disney Cruise Line vacation coming up, or travels with any cruise line, be sure to check testing and vaccination protocols ahead of time, and be careful to closely follow all posted guidelines and Cast Member instructions during your trip. Despite the CDC guidance to avoid cruise travel, we have seen extremely limited cases of COVID-19 turning up among cruisers at this time, and would note that Disney Cruise Line and others in the industry are continuing to run under limited capacity and with enhanced cleaning, distancing, and mask protocols for Guests and crew on-board. Find complete information on Disney Cruise Line’s COVID-19 response at disneycruiseline.com.

About Brittany DiCologero

Brittany is a New England-based writer focused on the history of the Walt Disney World Resort. She is the author of "Red, White, and Disney: The Myths and Reality of American History at the Walt Disney World Resort," and "Brittany Earns Her Ears."