Disney Cruises Sail Again in 2021 | Here’s What to Know

Disney Cruise Line has announced that sailings will begin again on August 9, 2021! The Disney Dream will be the first of the ships to set sail from the US after over a year of COVID closures.

Initial offerings will be 3 and 4 night sailings to The Bahamas on the Disney Dream from Port Canaveral.

Note that the August 2021 sailings will only stop at Disney’s Private Island, Castaway Cay.

Let’s take a look at how sailing will be different in 2021 vs before the closures.

New Disney Cruise COVID Requirements for 2021


Vaccinations are strongly encouraged but they are NOT required on the Disney Dream sailings from Port Canaveral in 2021.

Testing Requirements

There are two separate testing requirements to sail:

  • Pre-Trip COVID-19 Testing: Guests must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 PCR test (paid for at the Guest’s expense) taken between 5 days and 24 hours prior to the sail date. Disney Cruise Line has secured a special rate of $98.33 per PCR test (which includes a 3.5% processing fee) through our third-party vendor, Inspire Diagnostics. Guests may also obtain their PCR test from any independent testing supplier.

  • Embarkation COVID-19 Testing: Guests are required to undergo a rapid PCR COVID-19 test administered by Inspire Diagnostics at the terminal prior to boarding. Guests with positive COVID-19 test results, as well as those in their travel party, will be denied boarding. The $65 test fee will be charged to the folio of all Guests 12 years and older. 

Note that if you are fully vaccinated, you can voluntarily provide proof of vaccination instead of completing the COVID testing requirements.

Mask Requirements

Masks will be required indoors on the Disney Dream for guests ages 2 and up INCLUDING guests who are fully vaccinated.

Exceptions include when guests are in their staterooms or actively eating or drinking (while stationary and maintaining an appropriate physical distance).

Face coverings are not required for guests outdoors while on board the ship and at Disney Castaway Cay.

Face coverings may be required in ports of call based on local government requirements.

Physical Distancing & Limited Capacity

Guest capacity onboard will be reduced and experiences will be adjusted to promote physical distancing.

This includes limiting capacity and implementing physical distancing measures in terminals and areas of the ship such as upper decks, dining rooms, food and beverage locations, lounges, theaters, walkways, elevators, pools, queues and other common spaces.

Reduced and Modified Onboard Offerings


Live shows in the Walt Disney Theatre will continue but there will only be ONE show offered the entirety of the cruise (you usually get a different show each night). Seating will be available on a first-come, first-serve basis and the theatre will follow distancing requirements.

Buena Vista Theatre will continue to show movies onboard. This will also be on a first-come, first-serve basis with physical distancing.

Deck Parties will NOT take place.

Firework shows will take place onboard on two separate nights. Guests will be assigned a show date.


Characters will interact with guests from a distance. No close-up interactions or autographs will be allowed.

Photos with characters will be available from a distance.

Masks must remain on for character photos unless a Disney Cruise Line photographer is present.


Dining room seating times will be staggered to promote physical distancing. Guests will be assigned ONE table for the entirety of the cruise and will not be seated with other parties.

Guests will still rotate restaurants each night (and their servers will follow them).

Quick-service food and beverage will still be offered but will be served by a Disney Cruise Line Crew Member.

Pools & Waterslides

Pools and waterslides are open with queues that promote physical distancing.

Youth Activities & Kids Clubs

Youth Activities and Kids Clubs will be available but times must be reserved PRIOR to sailing. Guests can only book one session per day, per child.

At Disney’s Oceaneer Club and Disney’s Oceaneer Lab, children will interact within groups of 15, paired with one Disney counselor. 

Vibe and Edge will be open. No reservations required.

The It’s a Small World Nursery will be unavailable.

Bibbidi Bobbidi Boutique

Bibbidi Bobbidid Boutique will be available for children ages 3 through 12 years. Face masks will be required.

Fish Extenders

Fish extenders are not permitted.

Flexible Booking Policies

Within 14 days of the sailing, booked guests with COVID-19-related health concerns (symptoms or exposure) can receive a full refund without Disney-imposed cancellation fees or apply their cruise fare toward a future sail date. 

For any sailings booked by July 31, 2021 scheduled to sail on or before December 31, 2021, you can change your sail date up to 15 days prior to departure.

You can read more about what changes to expect as Disney returns to cruising on the official Disney Cruise Line website.

I’d love to hear your thoughts!

Follow along on all of our Walt Disney World fun on Instagram @brbgoingtodisney! I share tips and tricks LIVE from the parks each week on Stories! See you there!

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