Disney Cruise Line will require children ages 5 and up to be fully vaccinated against COVID for sailings starting next year. The requirement is a continuation of the company's policy that all vaccine-eligible passengers be vaccinated.
"This will be a requirement for all Guests (U.S. and international) ages 5 and up for sailings beginning on or after January 13, 2022," Disney Cruise Line said on its website Wednesday. "Guests who are not vaccine-eligible because of age must provide proof of a negative COVID-19 test result."
Disney Cruise Lines says it will accept vaccines approved by the CDC and World Health Organization, including Pfizer, Moderna, Johnson & Johnson, AstraZeneca, Covishield, Novavax, Sinopharm and Sinovac.
The test – which must be a NAAT test, lab-based PCR test or rapid PCR test – must be taken between three days and 24 hours before the passenger's sail date and will be paid for by the passenger.
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Passengers ages 5 through 11 may opt in to the testing requirement instead of showing vaccination proof for sailings that depart before Jan. 13.
While Disney has changed guidance on its website to include that children 5 and up must show vaccination proof starting in January, Norwegian has grandfathered the new age group into its vaccination requirement.
Norwegian, Celebrity policies require 5+ age group to be vaccinated
Norwegian Cruise Line Holdings Ltd., parent company to Norwegian Cruise Line, Regent Seven Seas Cruises and Oceania Cruises, instituted a 100% vaccination requirement in April and announced earlier this month that it would remain in place indefinitely.
There are no exemptions, including no age-related exemptions, to the 100% vaccination requirement.
The announcement came on the heels of the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention's approval for children ages 5 through 11 to be vaccinated. Frank Del Rio, president and CEO of Norwegian, said on an earnings call that the move would "allow for an expanded group of 100% vaccinated guests, especially families to sail on our brand."
Similarly, Celebrity Cruises, a subsidiary of Royal Caribbean Group, said on its website that that "all crew and guests who are eligible to be vaccinated must be vaccinated in order to sail with us."
And Holland America Line, a Carnival Corp. cruise line, said on its website that through Feb. 28, its cruises "are available for guests who have received their final dose of an approved COVID-19 vaccine and have proof of vaccination."
Earlier this month, Holland America announced a promotion to encourage sailing with vaccinated children offering that passengers "aged 5 to 17 sailing as the third and fourth guests in the same stateroom" would cruise for free – an offer available on some holiday sailings and other itineraries into spring to be reserved by Thursday.
Cruise lines including Royal Caribbean, Carnival have not mandated vaccine proof for children 5+
Other lines have not yet mandated that children 5 and over will need to be vaccinated in order to sail.
Celebrity's sibling line Royal Caribbean International, for example, said on its website that while passengers 12 and older must present proof of vaccination, "kids age 5 to 11 who have been vaccinated may present proof of full vaccination and follow the protocols for vaccinated guests" but did not specify that it was a requirement.
Passengers under 12 on Royal Caribbean will be required to complete additional testing if unvaccinated.
Carnival Cruise Line, flagship line to Carnival Corp., has not updated its policy to mandate that that age group be vaccinated, either. The cruise line's website requires passengers 12 and up to be vaccinated, noting there are some exemptions for children under the age of 12 to bypass the company's vaccination rule.
This article originally appeared on USA TODAY: Disney Cruise Line to require all passengers 5 and older be vaccinated
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