November 29, 2002
Disney Magic has succumbed to Norwalk Virus and has canceled its next cruise -- departing Saturday from Port Canaveral. The ship will spend its week "off" in port, so crew members can scour "every surface that a guest would come in contact with," according to a spokesperson. Disney tried to hold out -- even as almost 100 passengers got sick on the second (and current) consecutive Norwalk-infected voyage -- with company president Matt Ouimet saying last week that "given the recent news regarding other cruise lines, I know many of you may be wondering why we aren't taking this ship off-line. As a father with young children, I look forward to our vacations together and so do our guests. I think we owe it to our guests to try our very best to preserve their special holiday vacation. I also believe that the Disney Cruise Line team, with the support of experts at the CDC, can accomplish great things -and they are totally focused on this work today." But to Disney's credit, the line didn't wait until the situation was at a crisis point to act. Ouimet said last week "we would not sail -- if we didn't think it was safe for our guests and our Crew." Yesterday's announcement, albeit painful for anticipatory travelers and for Disney's bottom line, showed he meant it.