(11:15 a.m. EDT) -- Disney Cruise Line is set to restart sailings from Port Canaveral beginning on August 9, with three- and four-night sailings aboard Disney Dream. The cruises will visit the company’s private Bahamas island, Castaway Cay.
In new health and safety rules released on Friday, in preparation for the restart, the line said all guests age 2 and up will be required to wear masks in all indoor areas except when eating and drinking or in their staterooms. Masks will not be required outdoors or at Castaway Cay.
Close-up meet-and-greets with Disney Characters will be on pause, and youth activities will be limited to small group settings, the line said.
Disney "strongly encourages" all guests to be fully vaccinated. Guests "may provide proof of vaccination" to be exempt from pre-cruise COVID-19 testing and travel insurance requirements, the line said.
The line said the protocols would apply to all Disney ships sailing from the U.S.
Guests ages 12 and up who do not show proof of vaccination, or are unvaccinated, will be required to show proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test taken between 5 days and 24 hours prior to their sailing date. Disney is selling test kits that can be used at home and submitted to a lab for $98.33 per test. The line is using a third-party vendor, Inspire Diagnostics. Guests are also allowed to obtain a test from an independent testing supplier.
Those who are not vaccinated, or decline to show proof of vaccine, will also be required to be tested pier side for a fee of $65 per guest age 12 or up. On cruises from Florida through the end of the year, also required will be proof of a valid travel insurance policy with at least $10,000 per person in medical expense coverage and $30,000 coverage for emergency medical evacuation (including for COVID-19).
Disney Cruise Line says it plans to resume sailing "in a gradual, phased approach that emphasizes multiple layers of health and safety measures, developed in consideration of guidance from the US Centers for Disease Control and Prevention and other medical experts."
The line said guest capacity would be reduced both at the pier and on its ships. "This includes limiting capacity and implementing physical distancing measures in our terminals and areas of our ships such as upper decks, dining rooms, food and beverage locations, lounges, theaters, walkways, elevators, pools, queues and other common spaces," the line said.
Signs throughout the Disney Dream will remind guests and crew to practice social distancing, and the line said that "physical barriers have also been installed in areas where physical distancing may be difficult to maintain," such as at check-in and guest services.
While some experiences have been modified to accommodate the new protocols, Disney said there would be character experiences (from a distance) and Broadway-style shows and themed restaurants would be open. Quick-service food and beverage locations will not be self-serve but instead staffed by service attendants at select times.
All crew members will be screened for symptoms of illness before every shift. Each Disney ship has added a Public Health Officer to oversee the health and safety protocols onboard, the line said.
As of now, Disney Fantasy departures through August 28, Disney Wonder departures through September 10, and Disney Magic departures in the U.S. through November 4 remain on hold. Disney Magic is doing limited time sailings in the UK, restricted to local residents.