Disney Cruise Line Becomes First Cruise Company To Introduce COVID-19 Vaccine Mandate For Passengers Aged Five Years Old And Up
Disney Cruise Line has become the first cruise company to introduce a COVID-19 vaccine mandate for passengers aged five years old and up.
As reported by The Irish Independent, the policy applies to all sailings departing on or after January 13. Until then, the existing rules, which reportedly require children to show a negative PCR test taken before departure, will reportedly continue to apply.
Under the current restrictions, anyone turning 12 within five weeks of departure dates is reportedly given leeway, and it is reportedly expected that similar provisions will apply to five year olds celebrating recent birthdays.
Though cruise lines generally require vaccinations for any eligible guests, with unvaccinated people subject to restrictions, reportedly no major cruise lines have indicated plans to follow Disney's lead.
Only one company, Carnival, reportedly responded to requests for comment, reportedly saying that a decision to expand the vaccine mandates to include five-to-11-year-olds would be left up to executives at each of its nine individual cruise lines.
Royal Caribbean chief executive Richard Fain has reportedly been a vocal supporter of vaccine mandates and has reportedly said at media events that he expects to require shots for all customers as they become eligible.
No plans, however, have reportedly been put into place to expand the company's current policies, which reportedly currently cover those age 12 and up.
Global tourism reporter at travel industry trade publication Skift Lebawit Lily Girma reportedly said, "Disney Cruise Line's new vaccination mandate for kids is likely to boost consumer confidence from the family segment, which has been largely reluctant to return to cruising post-pandemic.
"It's likely other cruise lines will follow as cruises plan to resume operations and sailing at larger capacities in 2022."
It reportedly remains to be seen how the widened mandate will affect Disney Cruise Line's operations, including allowing the reopening of such popular amenities as its kids' clubs, which are reportedly still closed in accordance with COVID-19 protocols.
The company's spokesperson reportedly did not return requests for comment. For guests who prefer not to comply with the new rules, no-fee cancellations will reportedly be allowed until December 1.
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