Published: 06:00, 27 April 2021
Bookings for Disney's new UK cruise holidays open this Friday but the venture has already come under fire from families disappointed with its Covid-19 vaccination policy.
Last month, Disney Cruise Line unveiled plans for two, three and four-night trips around the UK this summer – an announcement that was met with much excitement from fans and families keen to inject some much-needed magic into potential holiday plans after lockdown.
Departing from Tilbury in Essex, Liverpool, Southampton and Newcastle, between July and September, Disney said the limited-time sailings would give guests the opportunity to experience all the magic of a Disney holiday but this time much closer to home.
The 11-deck entertainment liner Disney Magic, which has spent the best part of the last year moored in Kent when the pandemic cancelled its original sailing schedule, is promising character meet-and-greets, live entertainment as Disney shows and songs are brought to life, film screenings, Disney dining experiences and all the ship's state-of-the-art facilities including water park and swimming pool fun, themed play areas and kids' clubs.
Foreign travel this summer is still in considerable doubt, as parts of Europe experience a third wave of coronavirus and the UK government grapples with how to open borders whilst preventing the arrival of new Covid variants.
So the UK-based cruises are expected to give holidaymakers another staycation option, providing restrictions continue to be lifted, as families race to find available accommodation particularly out of term-time.
But in order for holidaymakers to be able board one of the new trips, which the corporation will launch with departures from Liverpool on July 15, all over 18s must be 'fully vaccinated' says Disney.
In a message on its website, which details all of the enhanced measures the cruise line will be taking to prevent any spread of coronavirus, it makes clear that any adult wishing to enjoy one of its new UK cruises must have received two coronavirus vaccines – with the second at least a week before departure.
The message reads: "In order to sail, guests 18 years of age and older must be fully vaccinated against Covid-19, as defined by the National Health Service (NHS). The NHS currently defines “fully vaccinated” as seven days after the final dose. Disney Cruise Line will contact guests prior to sailing with instructions on how to show proof of this vaccination status."
The policy's announcement has come under fire on social media from some families, who were initially excited at the prospect of a Disney holiday in the UK, but say they have been left disappointed after realising the newly-unveiled policy will prevent them from booking.
While the NHS has now begun offering immunsations to those aged 44 and above, patients continue to face a 12-week wait between the two injections. Meaning that many parents in their 20s, 30s and possibly early 40s, who don't have any underlying health conditions, can't be confident enough that they'll have had the required two jabs by the summer, in order to book.
Comments left by disappointed followers of Disney's new Magic at Sea Instagram page accuse the company of alienating its target market and excluding a large proportion of the adult population with children who will now be forced to miss out through no fault of their own.
Other measures also expected to be in place both before and during the cruises are negative PCR tests for all guests ahead of boarding, rapid antigen testing on the day of departure, temperature checks and face coverings for all guests and crew members aged 11 and over, except when dining, swimming or inside personal accommodation.
The guidelines add: "You may temporarily remove your face covering while actively eating, drinking or taking an outdoor photo, but you must be stationary and maintain appropriate physical distancing during this time. It is recommended that children ages three to 10 wear a face covering at all times except in designated locations."
Disney holidays go on sale this Friday, April 30 for the following dates and locations:
For more information about Disney's Magic at Sea holidays, including how to book from this Friday, please click here.