Disney Cruise Line has reached out to guests booked on an upcoming Australia and South Pacific sailing to inform them of COVID-19 vaccination protocols still in place Down Under. The cruise line will begin its first-ever deployment to the region in October, with a series of voyages aboard Disney Wonder.
While most of the world’s cruise destinations have lifted the most stringent COVID-19 vaccine and testing rules, not all have, and guests aboard Disney Cruise Line’s Disney Wonder will be required to adhere to certain health and safety protocols as they embark or debark the ship at ports in Australia.
The 2,400-guest Disney Wonder will begin her deployment to Australia with a 13-night South Pacific cruise from Honolulu, Hawaii, on October 13, 2023. The itinerary includes calls at Pago Pago, American Samoa; Suva, Fiji; and Nouméa, New Caledonia, before concluding in Sydney.
Disney Cruise Line on July 25, alerted booked guests that they will have to provide proof of vaccination before boarding, and all guests age two and older must take a PCR test within 48 hours before boarding, or a self-administered rapid antigen test within 24 hours before boarding.
“We will be sailing with multiple layers of health and safety measures, developed considering guidance from health authorities and medical experts. Please be aware that guests traveling on a cruise ship visiting Australia must comply with the Eastern Seaboard and Western Australian Cruise Protocols,” the letter to guests states.
According to those protocols, Australia considers a person fully vaccinated if he or she has had at least two doses of a Covid-19 vaccine. Passengers with a medical exemption are permitted to travel without vaccination. Disney Cruise Line’s noticed to guests also noted that cruise health and safety protocols continue to evolve.
“There is a possibility that COVID-19 vaccination and testing requirements may change or be eliminated by the Australian government before your sailing,” the line told guests.
The cruise line said it would provide more information about how booked guests should submit their proof of vaccination and testing, and how to file for a medical exemption.
Disney Cruise Line took the unusual step of temporarily extending final payment until 60 days prior to sailing for guests booked in unrestricted stateroom categories aboard Disney Wonder from October 13 to November 16, 2023.
The cruise line’s letter also said that guests booked to sail on the ship between those dates could modify their sail date or cancel their sailing without any Disney-imposed cancellation fees by contacting the reservations department before August 8, 2023. Fees imposed by third-party providers, such as airlines and hotels, are not refundable.
Disney Cruise Line announced in 2022 that it would operate a series of “Disney Magic at Sea” voyages aboard Disney Wonder in fall and winter of 2023-24.
Following the October 13 repositioning cruise, which features the South Pacific port calls, the ship will sail a series of 2- to 6-night Australia and New Zealand cruises from four home ports: Sydney, Melbourne, and Brisbane, Australia, and Auckland, New Zealand. (The Covid-19 protocols do not apply to New Zealand.)
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The ship, rather than the ports of call, is meant to be the focus of the “Magic at Sea” cruises, which have been designed to immerse guests in their favorite Disney, Pixar, Marvel, and Star Wars stories through specially curated entertainment and experiences.
The 83,000-gross-ton Disney Wonder entered service in 1999. Dining venues aboard the ship include Animator’s Palate, Palo, Cabanas, Triton’s, Crown and Fin Pub, and Tiana’s Place.
The ship has three pools and scores of entertainment spaces and events for children, such as the Marvel Super Hero Academy, and the stage show “Frozen: A Musical Spectacular.”