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Disney Cruises Sail Again – All You Need to Know

On August 9th the Disney Dream will return to service after nearly 17 months without passengers.  The Dream will depart from Port Canaveral with a series of 3 and 4 night sailings to the Bahamas.   I may be screaming with excitement inside!

Departures beginning August 9 through Sept 6, 2021 will make two stops at Disney’s private island, Castaway Cay, what we’ve previously called a “double-dip” sailing.  Four night sailings will also have a day at sea.  The ship will not stop in Nassau until after the September 6th sailing.

Personally I’m excited for this itinerary change even if it’s only for a few months.

Before you set sail you’ll need to read Disney’s Know Before You Go site to ensure you have the most up to date information.  The information below is current at the time of posting however things change rapidly so please ensure you get the most up to date information on the Know Before You Go website if you’re unsure!

Here are a few highlights:

Covid 19 vaccination requirements to sail with Disney Cruise Line

Guests are not required to be vaccinated to sail on Disney Cruise Line.

Guests who are not vaccinated or do not wish to show proof of vaccine must provide:

  • Two negative Covid tests.
    • A PCR test taken between 5 – 24 hours prior to departing, at the guests expense. Guests can secure the test through the Safe Passage website for $98.33 or with another testing company.
    • A rapid test is also required in port prior to getting on board. A $65 testing fee will be applied to the folio of all guests 12 years or older.
  • Guests sailing on ships departing from Florida,  age 12 or older must provide proof of of a valid travel insurance policy that has a minimum of $10k medical coverage, $30k emergency medical evacuation coverage, and the policy can not have any Covid 19 exclusions.

Fully vaccinated guests can choose to show proof of vaccine to avoid new requirements. 

  • Guests who are fully vaccinated may choose to provide proof of vaccination instead of undergoing covid 19 embarkation testing (unless from outside the US).
  • Guests who are fully vaccinated may choose to provide proof of vaccination instead of obtaining travel insurance.  Although travel insurance is always recommended. 

Is sailing with Disney Cruise Line right for you and your family?

Anything unknown can be scary and we’ve all lived through a lot of the unknown in the last year and a half. Some guests will choose to sail as soon as possible to hopefully get ahead of the crowds while others will wait and see how things go. Either is 100% ok!  Everyone needs to do what feels right for themselves and their family.  But the more you know, the easier it is to make your best choice!

Disney Cruise Line has made a number of updates to help ensure guests safety.

Using the Navigator App

The Disney Cruise Line Navigator app has been enhanced to reduce the amount of face to face contact guests need to make.

Guests can use the app, with complimentary WiFi for:

  • Virtual queues
  • Connecting with crew members in online chats
  • Scheduling in person appointments
  • Guess can connect on the Navigator app. Wave phones have been removed from all staterooms. 
  • Guests can schedule in person appointments with guest services in 10 min increments from the Navigator app.
  • Guests without a smart phone can use in room phones to schedule appointments.

Face Masks

Face masks are required for all passengers regardless of if they’re vaccinated

  • Face coverings are required indoors on the ship
  • Face coverings are required on Castaway Cay in the gift shops and other indoor spaces
  • Guests can remove their masks while in their staterooms
  • Masks can be removed while actively eating and drinking
  • Guests do not have to wear their masks while outdoors on the ship or on Castaway Cay.
  • Spa and salons require face coverings at all times regardless of the guests vaccination status.

Room Stewards & Enhanced Cleaning

  • Housekeep will be offered twice daily during the cruise.  One in the morning and once in the evening for turndown service.
  • Crew members will not enter staterooms while guests are in their room
  • High touch items like throw pillows and paper items have been removed temporarily 
  • Enhanced cleaning procedures are in place

Kids Clubs

  • Kids should be registered for the Oceaneer Club or Lab during online checkin, prior to boarding the ship.  On board availability is not guaranteed. 
  • Guests can book one session per day.   Kids club sessions may range from 1 ½ hours to 2 hours each. 
  • Kids will interact in small groups. 
  • Parents are not allowed to enter youth spaces and only one parent can drop off/pick up at the club to help promote social distancing. 
  • Disney’s Teen Clubs Vibe and Edge do not need reservations.  
  • Dining in the kids clubs is temporarily paused. 
  • Small World Nursery is temporarily closed.

Pools and Slides 

  • Disney Cruise Lines pools and slides are open and will have queues in locations to promote physical distancing.
  • Splash zones, wading pools, and whirlpools are open with limited capacity


  • Broadway style shows, game shows and first run movies will be shown.
  • Shows will be performed multiple times with reduced capacity to promote physical distancing.
  • Characters will interact from a safe distance.
  • Close up encounters and autographs are paused momentarily.
  • Character dining will happen in Enchanted Garden and Royal Palace in a parade format from a distance. 
  • Surprise character pop up experiences will happen on the ship and at Castaway Cay. 


Fireworks at sea is a favorite for Disney Cruise Line guests!  Thankfully they will continue!

  • A new show staring Captain Mickey and Minnie will debut August 9th.
  • Fireworks will take place two times per cruise at 10:30 pm
  • Guests will be assigned one show per crusie to see the fireworks.  Show times will be based on their dining rotation.

Ports of call

  • Guess must book a port adventure through Disney Cruise Line to debark the ship in ports of call other than Castaway Cay.
  • Guests will join a virtual queue on the Navigator app to debark the ship at all ports of call including Castaway Cay.

Castaway Cay

  • Characters will make surprise appearances on the island.
  • Umbrellas and beach chairs have been arranged to promote distancing.
  • The Pelican Plunge water play area will be available with on land queues. 
  • The Castaway Cay 5k continues!  Individuals are invited to complete the challenge on their own and everyone who finishes the 5k will get their Castaway medal.
  • Message cabanas will be open.
  • All food and beverages will be severed by the crew. 

Steps Before Sailing 

After booking your Disney Crusie Line vacation guests will need to complete a number of steps to ensure they get safely onboard.

1. Create a Safe Passage Account

  • All guests will need to create an account on the Safe Passage website by Inspire Diagnostics. This is a third party site that DCL is using to help ensure guests safety.  
  • Underage guests also need accounts that can be created by parents/guardians
  • Accounts can be created no sooner than 33 days in advance but no later than 24 hours prior to sailing.
  • Registration on the Safe Passage website must be done for each voyage, including back to back cruises.

2. Download Disney Cruise Line Navigator app

Download the Disney Cruise Line app, sign in, link your crusie reservation number and get familiar! You’ll be using this app extensively on your Disney Cruise Line vacation. Guests who do not have a smart phone will be accommodated in other ways.

3. Select a Port Arrival Time, Sign Up For Onboard Activities and Excursions

Disney Cruise Line has always offered guests port arrival times to lessen the crowds and keep guests from standing in long lines.  In the past they were fairly flexible with guests arriving early and waiting in the terminal for their check in times.  Now Disney will use the port arrival times to create social distancing.

  • All guest must sign up for a port arrival time
  • Guests should make advance reservations for the Oceaneer Club and Oceaneer Lab.  More on this below.
  • Guests should make advanced reservations for premium experiences such as specialty dining, beverage tastings, spa treatments, excursions and more.

Sign up Timeline:

  • 120 days prior to sailing for Platinum Level guests
  • 105 days prior to sailing for Gold Level guests
  • 90 days prior to sailing for Silver Level guests
  • 75 days prior to sailing for first time guests
  • 30 days prior to sailing for Oceaneer Club and Lab for all guests.

4. Online check in

Checking in online is more important than ever.  Just like at Disney World guests who checkin on line prior to arrival may have the option to directly board the ship and not wait in the check in line once arriving at the port.

  • Guests who complete an online check in 30 days before sailing may be able to skip check in upon arrival to port by uploading guest info, photos of their passport and required travel documentation as well as a security photo for identification while sailing.
  • Guests can add payment info for charging privileges onboard.
  • Select port arrival time.  Those who do not select a time or arrive before may be turned away at the port and asked to come back at a later time. Arrival times may be later than what guests are used to.
  • Guests will not be allowed to arrive early or park early. Those who are late to their time be asked to return at a later time.

5. Boarding Ship

  • Arrive promptly at your assigned Port Arrival time.
  • Guests who arrive early or later than their assigned time may be asked to come back at another time.
  • Guests will not be allowed to park until their assigned port arrival time.
  • Guests ages 21 and over can bring up to 2 bottles of wine or champagne.  Anything more than the allotted amount that is brought to the port will be thrown away and will NOT be held for the guests when they return.

6. Once onboard

  • Guests must take part in the mandatory muster drill.  
  • Prior to drill
    • One adult per stateroom needs to check in on the Disney Cruise Line app.
    • All guests must go to their assigned muster station at the drill time.
    • The safety drill will be broadcast on monitors through ship and in the stateroom.
    • Guests who don’t have a smartphone will be given another way to checkin.

7. Debarkation day 

  • Reserved breakfast time 
  • Speciality coffee at cove cafe
  • Cabanas will be available with scheduled assigned staggered seating times
  • Guests should bring any remaining luggage. They will be asked to leave ship on assigned debarkation time after breakfast.
  • Luggage can still be delivered to the terminal if they choose by placing it outside their stateroom by 10:30 pm  However we strongly suggest guests take their luggage with them. 
  • All guests must go through customs as normal
  • Disney Cruise Line Motorcoach service will be available for guests to take to airport. Luggage will be check in at airport.
  • Guests with a continued vacation to Walt Disney World and using Disney’s motor coach service should debark no later than 7:30 am. Guests will depart on bus by 9 am.

Disney Cruise Line Cancellation and Date Changes 

  • Disney Cruise Line has a flexible cancellation and change policy.  All guests book before July 31, 2021 may change their sailing date up to 15 days prior to departure without penalty.
  • Final payment has been extended for all sailings through December 31, 2021.  Final payments will be due 60 days prior to sailing.
  • Disney Cruise Line’s cancellation fee schedule has been relaxed for all sailings through Dec 31, 2021. Guests can receive full refund or future sailing credit.

For more information and to book your next vacation email

Jamie Rumph
Jamie Rumph
Hi, I'm Jamie, traveling mama, entrepreneur, and travel advisor. I'm addicted to Disney, traveling and exploring the world with my family, and have a passion for helping families experience the magic of travel. My home is filled with love and chaos, 2 crazy girls, 2 large dogs, and the most spectacular architect and Disney Cast Member I call my husband. We live in Florida and spend our weekends playing at Orlando's many theme parks and visiting the beach. In 2015, after helping numerous families plan their vacations to various Disney Destinations, I started a blog to answer all of the many travel questions I received daily. In 2016, the blog grew into a travel agency, and Love of the Magic Vacations was born. With a team of nearly 20, we spend our days creating family vacations around the world. What started as a blog is now a full service, worldwide vacation destination planning service. I create custom itineraries for each of my clients that not only meets but exceeds expectations. There is no greater gift than making memories while sharing the world and its cultures with your kids.


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