Children as young as five will need to be vaccinated to travel on Disney Cruise Line ships, the company has announced, in an expansion of its vaccine mandate. It is the first major passenger liner to require jabs for kids.
The updated coronavirus vaccination requirements were announced by Disney on Wednesday. Citing US vaccination guidelines, recently expanded to include five-year-olds, the cruise liner said the new rules will take effect starting January 13.
“As we set sail again, the health and safety of our Guests, Cast Members, and Crew Members is a top priority,” Disney said in a statement. “Our focus remains on operating our ships in a responsible way that continues to create magic for all on board.”
The new rules will be a requirement for both US and international passengers, effectively barring kids from countries that do not vaccinate very young children.
People ineligible for vaccination due to age will have to provide “proof of a negative Covid-19 test result taken between 3 days and 24 hours before their sail date.”
The company warned that antigen tests are not accepted and that tests must be NAAT tests, rapid PCR tests, or lab-based PCR tests.
The cruise line became the first division of the Disney company to require vaccination for clients. Currently, Disney’s theme parks do not have any Covid-19 jab requirements for visitors. However, all US employees at those venues must be vaccinated against the virus.
Cruise ships repeatedly became Covid-19 hotspots during the first months of the pandemic, with passengers and crew contracting the disease en-masse in the confined environments of seafaring vessels.
The pandemic has heavily affected the cruise industry, with multiple lines going bust due to the impact of Covid-19 and the restrictions imposed on travel worldwide.