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Children 5 & Up Will Need To Be Fully Vaccinated To Set Sail On A Disney Cruise

Meanwhile, kids 4 years old and younger must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result before departure.

by Morgan Brinlee

Families looking to cruise the high seas with Disney in 2022 will want to make sure they’ve double-checked the company’s Covid-19 policies. On Wednesday, Disney Cruise Line announced plans to require passengers including children over the age of 5 be fully vaccinated against Covid-19. The policy update comes shortly after the U.S. Food and Drug Administration (FDA) expanded the emergency use authorization granted to the Pfizer BioNTech Covid-19 vaccine to include kids between the ages of 5 and 11.

“Disney Cruise Line continues to require all vaccine-eligible Guests (based on U.S. eligibility requirements) to be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, as defined by the U.S. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention (CDC), at the time of sailing,” a statement on the Disney Cruise Line website read. “This will be a requirement for all Guests (U.S. and international) ages 5 and up for sailings beginning on or after January 13, 2022.”

Currently, only guests 12 years old and older must be fully vaccinated to board a Disney cruise ship. Unvaccinated children between the ages of 5 and 11 are required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test until the cruise liner’s new policy comes into effect next year.

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According to the cruise liner, guests who are not of a vaccine-eligible age, meaning they are 4 years old or younger, will be required to provide proof of a negative Covid-19 test result. Tests must be paid for and completed by the guest no later than 24 hours before their cruise is set to depart and no earlier than three days before their sail date. Additionally, Disney Cruise Line has said it will not accept rapid antigen tests. Rather, guests must test for the virus using a NAAT test, rapid PCR test, or a lab-based PCR test.

Following guidance from the CDC, Disney Cruise Line has said it defines a fully vaccinated individual as anyone 14 days past receiving either a single dose of a vaccine such as the Johnson & Johnson or the second dose of an accepted two-dose vaccine like Moderna or Pfizer. The cruise liner will also accept the AstraZeneca, Covishield, Novavax, Sinopharm, and Sinovac vaccines.

But Disney Cruise Line isn’t the only cruise liner to mandate that children 5 years old and up be fully vaccinated before boarding. Norwegian Cruise Line also requires all guests and crew be fully vaccinated against Covid-19 at least two weeks prior to their ship’s departure date. Guests who considered by the FDA World Health Organization (WHO), or European Medicines Agency (EMA) to be too young to be vaccinated are not permitted to sail with the cruise liner, according to their website. Holland American Line also has a strict policy that requires all guests, regardless of age, to be fully vaccinated.

According to The New York Times, more cruise liners may soon follow suit. Royal Caribbean CEO Richard Fain recently said he expected his company would update its vaccine protocols for children soon. “I think we’re moving in the direction where every cruise will have 100 percent of the crew vaccinated and 95 or more percent of the guests,” the paper reported Fain said.

For now, families looking to book a cruise will want to be sure they carefully review the Covid-19 vaccine requirements well before their departure date.