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Disney Requires Cruise Passengers To Bahamas To Get Vaccinated Against Covid-19

By News Creatives Authors , in Business , at August 24, 2021


Disney Cruise Line announced Tuesday it will require all eligible passengers on Bahamian cruises to be vaccinated against Covid-19 due to government regulations in the Bahamas—as other cruise lines have already done—the latest vaccine mandate Disney has imposed after finalizing a requirement for unionized theme park workers on Monday.

Key Facts

In an advisory on its website Tuesday, Disney said passengers on its cruises to the Bahamas between September 3 and November 1 must be fully vaccinated and provide proof of vaccination, or else they will not be allowed to board the ship.

The requirement comes after the Bahamas declared cruise ships cannot enter its ports unless all eligible passengers are fully vaccinated; other cruise lines including Carnival, Royal Caribbean, MSC Cruises and Celebrity have already announced vaccine mandates as a result.

The vaccine mandate will affect all of Disney’s current U.S. cruise ship sailings, as its two ships sailing now out of Florida are only traveling to the Bahamas — a third ship is sailing out of the United Kingdom and is unaffected by the mandate.

The announcement comes after Walt Disney World in Florida reached an agreement Monday with the unions representing most of its theme park workers, which stipulates all workers will be required to be fully vaccinated as of October 22 except in the case of religious or medical exemptions, or else they will be let go from their jobs.

Disney already announced in July that all of its salaried and nonunion employees across all of its divisions will be required to be fully vaccinated.

What To Watch For

How Disney and other cruise lines’ vaccine mandates will square with a Florida law that prohibits companies from requiring proof of vaccination. Florida has been engaged in a battle over cruise lines mandating vaccines as ships have resumed sailing from the state’s ports, arguing that requiring vaccines is in violation of state law and potentially subject to a $5,000 fine per instance. A federal judge has given Norwegian Cruise Line clearance to impose a vaccine mandate on its cruises, but the ruling applies only to that cruise line and not the others that are now imposing their own requirements. Before its vaccine mandate announcement Tuesday, Disney was in compliance with the state law by recommending but not requiring vaccines. Florida Gov. Ron DeSantis’ office has not yet responded to a request for comment on the state’s response to the new cruise ship vaccine mandates.

Crucial Quote

“We believe that vaccinations are the key to really mitigating the impact of this pandemic, and we here at Disney don’t control what the rest of the world does, but we do have a quarter of a million cast members that we’d love to see vaccinated,” Disney CEO Bob Chapek said on CNBC in August about the company’s vaccine mandate for employees. “We think we owe it to them, being in the public eye, but we also owe it to our guests at the same time.”

Key Background

Disney is one of a growing number of companies that are now imposing vaccine mandates for their employees, including United Airlines, Facebook, Google and Adobe. While no vaccine mandates are in place for guests at the company’s theme parks or other entertainment venues, Americans are also increasingly being asked to provide proof of vaccination for leisure activities, as cities like New York City and San Francisco impose vaccination requirements for indoor venues. Disney’s union agreement Monday came hours after the Food and Drug Administration announced it has now fully approved Pfizer/BioNTech’s Covid-19 vaccine, a move that will likely now pave the way for additional vaccine mandates to be imposed across the country.


Disney’s vaccine mandates come as the company has otherwise been weakening its Covid-19 restrictions in its theme parks. Despite the Covid-19 surge now underway in Florida, Disney leadership said on a recent earnings call it will continue to reopen its theme parks—though all its theme parks are operational, some hotels and restaurants have still been closed—with a plan to be fully staffed by the end of the year. Walt Disney World loosened its mask policy to make masks optional for outdoor rides and queues last week, and the resort has also taken such steps as restarting buffet dining and use of its biometric fingerprint scanners at theme park entrances. 

Further Reading

Disney Cruise Line Important Travel Information (Disney Cruise Line)

Carnival Cruise Line follows other lines requiring vaccines for Bahamas sailings (Orlando Sentinel)

Disney CEO explains decision to require Covid vaccines for salaried and non-union employees (CNBC)

Disney Joins Wave Of Companies Requiring Employees To Get Vaccinated Against Covid (Forbes)

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