Disney Cruise Line to set sail on 2-night COVID test cruise

The 4,000-passenger Disney Dream sails from Florida's Port Canaveral to the Bahamas.
The 4,000-passenger Disney Dream sails from Florida's Port Canaveral to the Bahamas. (Matt Stroshane/Disney Cruise Line via Getty Images)

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – After a catastrophic coronavirus cruise season, Disney Cruise Line will finally set sail later this month, the company said in a statement Tuesday.

The Centers for Disease Control and Prevention approved the cruise line's request to conduct a two night simulation cruise on June 29 on the Disney Dream departing from Port Canaveral.

The federal government is getting ready to let cruises sail again, but only if nearly all passengers and crew are vaccinated against the virus. Republican Gov. Ron DeSantis, however, signed a bill banning business from requiring proof of vaccination, so cruise lines must prove the effectiveness of their COVID-19 safety protocols on test cruises.

“We have reached an important next step toward our gradual and responsible resumption of service, and are grateful for the productive dialogue with state, local and federal officials," Disney Cruise Line spokeswoman Cynthia Martinez said in an email.

Miami-based Norwegian has threatened to abandon its three Florida ports and move to the Caribbean over DeSantis' order. But the governor was unyielding, saying there were plenty of other cruise lines eager to take its place.

Norwegian is the third-largest cruise line in the world and has ports in Miami, Port Canaveral and Tampa. It also makes stops in Key West.

DeSantis is suing the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention over the no-sail order. The CDC is set to let cruises sail again if 98% of the crew and 95% of passengers are vaccinated and ships take other measures to limit the risk of transmitting the virus.