Disney delays test cruise over ‘inconsistent’ virus results
PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. (AP) - Disney Cruise Line is postponing its first test cruise since the pandemic brought the cruise industry to a standstill after a handful of participants had inconsistent test results for COVID-19, the company said Monday.
The Disney Dream had been scheduled to set sail Tuesday from Port Canaveral, Florida, with 300 employees who had volunteered for the "simulation" cruise. But the trip was postponed until next month, pending approvals, because a small number of employees had inconsistent results for COVID-19, "which is considered positive by the CDC," Disney said in a statement.
The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, or CDC, had approved the cruise line’s request to conduct a two-night test cruise.
The federal government is starting to allow cruises to sail again, but only if nearly all passengers and crew are vaccinated against the virus. Republican Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis signed a bill banning businesses from requiring proof of vaccination, so cruise lines must prove the effectiveness of their COVID-19 safety protocols on test cruises.
Last weekend, Celebrity Edge departed Fort Lauderdale, Florida, becoming the first cruise ship to leave a U.S. port in 15 months. Saturday’s sailing kicked off the cruise lines’ return to business with Carnival vessels already scheduled to depart from other ports next month.
Celebrity Cruises, one of Royal Caribbean Cruise’s brands, said 99% of the passengers were vaccinated, well over the 95% requirement imposed by the CDC.