Disney Cruise Line has become the first major cruise operator to insist on fully vaccinated status for passengers as young as five.
The cruise arm of the animation giant quietly updated its online rules on Wednesday to stipulate that, from 13 January, all passengers aged five and over must be fully vaccinated “as defined by the US Centers for Disease Prevention and Control (CDC)” at the date of departure.
The CDC defines a fully vaccinated person as someone who received their second dose of a two-dose vaccine, or the first dose of a one-dose vaccine, two weeks ago or more.
Children under five must arrive with a negative test result from a NAAT test, rapid PCR test or a lab-based PCR test, taken between 24 hours and three days prior.
The cruise line also announced that children aged two and above will have to wear masks in public areas.
“As we set sail again, the health and safety of our guests, cast members and crew members is a top priority,” read the update from Disney.
“Our focus remains on operating our ships in a responsible way that continues to create magic for all on board.”
Not everyone was thrilled with the news.
Beatrice Cardenas tweeted: “We were about to book a trip to take our 10 year old. They have lost our business and we will find other rewarding experiences elsewhere.”
User @Willinghammer wrote: “This should be short lived considering their target audience is children and they’ll run out of customers by February.
“All for a virus that doesn’t even effect them. My kids get multiple viruses a year that are 10x worse than this for them.”
However, some embraced it, with @KyloGreg tweeting: “Great news. Now do the theme parks.”
Several cruise operators now require passengers over 18 to show proof of vaccination, but Disney is one of the first to insist on the status for children aged 5-18.
At present, rules and policies on both vaccination status and mask wearing vary from cruise operator to operator, with the possibility of last-minute changes, so passengers are advised to check with their cruise line before booking.