(10:48 a.m. EST) -- Disney Cruise Line informed booked passengers Wednesday it will begin requiring all passengers aged five and older to provide proof of full vaccination against COVID-19 for all sailings on or after January 13, 2022.
An email sent to passengers booked on voyages after that date states the change will apply to both U.S. and international passengers, who will be required to be fully vaccinated as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Vaccine Requirements on All Disney Cruises Now Extend to Most Children
All passengers ages 5 and older will need to be fully vaccinated at least 14 days prior to embarkation. Currently, most cruise lines require passengers aged 12 and older to be fully vaccinated against COVID-19.
Last month, the U.S. FDA authorized the Pfizer-BioNTech vaccine for children between the ages of 5 to 11. Other countries, like Israel have also approved the vaccine, and countries including Canada are currently in the process of approving the vaccine, with Health Canada broadly stating the vaccine could be rolled out for Canadian children by the Holiday season.
"As we welcome Guests aboard our ships, the health and safety of our Guests, Cast Members and Crew Members is a top priority," states the email from Disney Cruise Line to booked passengers. "We have resumed sailing in a gradual, phased approach that emphasizes multiple layers of health and safety measures, developed considering guidance from the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC) and other medical experts."
Disney Cruise Line Requirements for Passengers Who Cannot Be Vaccinated
Passengers who are not eligible to be vaccinated because of their age must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test result (at the passenger's cost), taken between three days and 24 hours prior to embarkation. This includes all passengers aged 4 and under.
Antigen tests are not accepted. Disney states it has secured a rate of $98.33 per PCR test through a third-party vendor, Inspire Diagnostics, for children under the vaccination age.
All passengers, regardless of age or vaccination status, will still be required to undergo mandatory PCR testing pierside, prior to embarkation, provided by Disney Cruise Line. This will be the second round of tests required for those passengers not eligible to be vaccinated based on age.
What Are Disney Vaccine Requirements for Shore Excursions?
Disney also informs passengers with unvaccinated children that wish to go ashore in ports of call that they will need to purchase an approved Disney Cruise Line shore excursion in order to do so.
Passengers and families who are fully vaccinated may go ashore as they please. Families with unvaccinated children do not need to purchase a shore excursion to go ashore at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay.
Disney Allowing Cancellations Until December 1, 2021
Disney is allowing affected passengers sailing through early May to modify their sailing or cancel without penalty by contacting Disney's reservations team by December 1, 2021.
To-date, Disney is the first cruise line to require children five and over to provide proof of vaccination. Cruise Critic is reaching out to other lines to see if their policies will change, and will update this story as more information becomes available.