‘Everybody is waiting for it:’ Disney Cruise Line sets sail on ‘test cruise’

Disney Dream first cruise ship to leave Port Canaveral since start of pandemic

Disney Dream departs with passengers

PORT CANAVERAL, Fla. – Disney Cruise Line took a big step in its cruising comeback Saturday.

The Disney Dream had a “test sailing” out of Port Canaveral, making it the first cruise ship to depart from the port with passengers on board since the pandemic started.

[LIVE PORT CAM BELOW: Disney Dream arrives back at Port Canaveral]

Brevard County residents Joe Woelich and Jan Barker visit Jetty Park often. The pair said they plan to watch the first cruise ship leave Port Canaveral since the start of the pandemic.

“Everybody is waiting for it, so yeah it’s cool,” Woelich said.

Officials said the Disney Dream was the last passenger sailing to depart from Port Canaveral on March 13, 2020, before the cruising industry shutdown.

“It is sad to see them though. They come in here and you see them off Cocoa Beach sitting way offshore. It’s kinda sad to see them like that instead of picking up passengers and going off on cruises,” Barker said.

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The Disney Dream was originally set to sail more than two weeks ago, but conflicting COVID-19 test results pushed it back.

The passengers are Disney employees who volunteered for the two-day trip. News 6 watched as they were tested before walking across the bridge to go inside the terminal.

Passengers being tested for COVID-19 before Disney Dream "test cruise" departure. (2021 by WKMG ClickOrlando - All rights reserved.)

Barker said the shutdown has been bad for business, so she’s happy to see cruising return.

“This will be big help when everything gets started back,” she said.

This comes as the Port is preparing for its first revenue sailing with the Carnival Mardi Gras on July 31.

Barker said this marks a sign of life returning to normal.

“It’s a start, definitely a start,” Barker said.