PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Disney Cruise Lines has postponed its first test cruise, which was scheduled to set sail Tuesday out of Port Canaveral, as the company was set to begin testing its coronavirus precautions, officials said.
According to the Canaveral Port Authority, the Disney simulated cruise out of Cruise Terminal 8 has been postponed and no future date has been determined.
“We are delaying our simulation cruise due to a small number of inconsistent COVID-19 test results, which are considered positive by the CDC,” a Disney representative said in a statement. “The rigorous health and safety protocols we have in place helped us identify the situation, though the test results were ultimately negative.”
Disney officials said that during routine surveillance testing of crew members on the Disney Dream last week, five out of 600 crew members tested positive for COVID-19. Those who tested positive were asymptomatic, officials said. Disney officials also said all of the infected crew members were recently vaccinated and had tested negative several times before.
According to Disney officials, those crew members were retested the next day using the same lab and tested negative.
All cruising out of the U.S. was halted last spring under a no-sail order from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention.
Peter Cranis, Executive Director of the Space Coast Office of Tourism, says the county has lost about $265 million since the pandemic started. He also said cruises are vital to the port.
“I think the port is losing somewhere in the neighborhood of $7 million a month without cruising,” Cranis said. “We’re hoping by the end of July every cruise line would have done one or two test cruises, so they know which way they’re headed.”
Mike Schwarz is the general manager at Fishlips Bar and Grill. He said things are turning around for his business, but seeing more cruises leave from Port Canaveral again could help even more.
“The attraction of the cruise ships is what really helps our business,” Schwarz said. “To me, this is going to pretty (much) dot the T and cross the I in a sense that things are finally getting back to normal.”
The move by Disney comes two days after the Celebrity Edge set sail from Port Everglades in Fort Lauderdale. It was the first cruise with paying passengers on board to leave from a U.S. port in 15 months since the COVID-19 pandemic began.
“It’s really going to signal a really interesting time as cruises start to resume out of the United States and of course, most importantly from Miami, Port Canaveral and Port Everglades, which are the three busiest ports in the world,” cruise expert Stewart Chiron said.