Possible Changes Coming to Disney’s Private Island, Castaway Cay


The next time Disney Cruise Line passengers disembark on to Castaway Cay, there is a good chance it will look much different than before.

On October 31, the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention’s (CDC) “No Sail” Order will finally expire, allowing Disney Cruise Line and the rest of the Cruise industry the chance to return sea!

But before Guests can board a Disney ship, the CDC has issued an extensive new framework, and under this framework, it appears that several changes could be coming to Disney Cruise Line’s private island destination Castaway Cay.

Please keep in mind Disney has not made any announcements yet and this article is speculating based on what the CDC has shared.

New Protocols for Visiting Castaway Cay

Empty chairs on Castaway Cay close together
Credit: ITM Reporter Rebekah B.

New protocols will probably be initiated for those looking to enjoy the day at Castaway Cay. After surveying Cruise passengers the CDC learned the following:

  • 74% supported requiring cruise ship operators test passengers and crew prior to embarkation.
  • 98% supported cruise ship operators denying boarding to passengers with COVID-like illness or confirmed COVID-19 infection.
  • 90% supported cruise ship operators reducing passenger and crew loads.
  • 85% supported the wearing of face masks by passengers.

Taking this consumer consensus into account, it is most likely that–even though everybody on board the ship will probably have to test negative–days at Castaway Cay will be far less crowded than before with social distancing in place, and it’s quite possible to see mandatory mask-wearing while not actively swimming or eating or drinking.

Related: Disney’s Private Island is the Answer to the Cruise Line’s Return

New Facility Installations on Castaway Cay

castaway cay
Credit: Disney

The CDC framework requires Disney Cruise Line to cooperate with ports of call to prepare for the worst-case scenarios. It would be one thing for Disney to cooperate with, say, Bahamian Port Authority, but everything on Castaway Cay is operated by Disney Cruise Line.

The CDC Framework states:

“a cruise ship operator must document the approval of all U.S. port and local health authorities where the ship intends to dock or make port during a simulated voyage or a restricted passenger voyage. Such written approval must include the following: 

(1) A medical care agreement between the cruise ship operator and health care entities, addressing evacuation to onshore hospitals for passengers and crew in need of care, in accordance with CDC technical instructions and orders. 

(2) A housing agreement between the cruise ship operator and one or more shoreside facilities for isolation and quarantine of COVID-19 cases and close contacts, respectively, identified from the day of embarkation through disembarkation for each voyage, in accordance with CDC technical instructions and orders. 

(3) A port agreement between the cruise ship operator and port authority to determine the number of cruise ships at any single port in order to not overburden the public health response resources of any single jurisdiction in the event of a COVID-19 outbreak.”

In the case of Castaway Cay, which is located in Bahamian waters, it appears at this point that Disney would either work with the Bahamian government on a plan to divert to another port like Nassau or work to update and install the facilities on the private island to fit the medical care and housing requirements.

Considering Disney Cruise Line’s exclusive access to Castaway Cay, the installation of emergency housing and medical facilities for both passengers and crew would allow Disney to create an exclusive “bubble” that could possibly ensure an even safer way to return to cruising.

castaway cay
Credit: Disney

But at this time this is all speculation. We will keep our ears to the ground as we await official word on the plans Disney Cruise Line looks to submit, and we will update our readers as more concrete information comes to light.

Planning a voyage on Disney Cruise Line for 2021 or 2022? Our friends at Academy Travel are standing by ready to help make this sailing as magical as possible!



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