Disney Cruise Line is now in the process of finally repatriating hundreds of its crew members from some of its cruise ships. Disney transferred crew members from the Disney Fantasy and the Disney Dream to the Disney Magic (AIS location yesterday shown bottom right) which arrived today in Dover. Disney initially informed the crew members that it intended to fly them to their home from the U.K. via commercial flights, as opposed to private charters. Before they left the Magic, many crew members signed “post-disembarkation requirement agreements” (photo right) acknowledging that they would comply with all CDC guidelines which require, among other guidelines, that crew members not fly on commercial flights or even step foot in a public airport.
A number of Disney crew members stated that Disney originally scheduled them to fly home from the U.K. on different dates starting today to May 24, 2020. The itineraries which we reviewed showed flights from terminals at Heathrow Airport outside of London. However, Disney subsequenlty cancelled all of the flights. The crew members are now staying on the cruise ship, awating further information.
There are also many Disney crew members who finished their contracts but were not included on the scheduled flights. One crew member stated: “Now its been 3 times already they canceled our signing off . . . . its so frustrating most of the crew members already finished contract for 3 months already.”
The Disney Fantasy previously disembarked 68 Mexican crew members in Cozumel. 15 of these crew members stayed in Cozumel where they live. The other crew members took a ferry to Playa del Carmen where they then took commercial aircraft back to their homes in Mexico.
Mexican cruise ship staff docked Cozumel, returned home https://t.co/DW37Pp4UVO
— Riviera Maya News (@PeriodicoIngles) May 15, 2020
The Fantasy has disembarked crew members in Honduras and the Dominican Republic as well.
Like many other cruise lines, it appears that Disney is avoiding complying with the CDC guidelines by sailing its ships to non-U.S. ports and then flying its crew home on commercial flights. It is far cheaper to book commercial flights rather than private charters.
Many crew members have expressed their concern that Disney is taking a risk with their health by requiring them to fly on commercial flights rather than on restricted charters. Cruise lines are legally responsible for the medical treatment and expenses of any crew members for any illness that a crew member acquires on a ship, irrespective of the issue of fault. Crew members have expressed their concern that if they are infected while on a commercial flight, in an airport or during public transportation, the cruise line will deny responsibility claiming that they became infected after they left the ship.
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Photo Credit: Dover, England – Anonymous crew member