Four federal lawsuits have been filed against Disney Cruise Line from passengers who took cruises in March 2020 and claim to have contracted the novel Coronavirus onboard.

(Disney)

(Disney)

What’s Happening:

  • The Orlando Sentinel is reporting that four lawsuits have been filed against Disney Cruise Line, all of which come from passengers using the same Miami-based law firm.
  • All four parties were traveling aboard the Disney Fantasy on a cruise that set sail on March 7th, 2020 and returned to Port Canaveral on March 14th.
  • The sail day was a day before the Department of State advised travelers to not travel by cruise ship.
  • The lawsuits all state that Disney was unwilling to let travelers cancel or reschedule their cruises without penalty, while Disney’s own emails to passengers informed them that they had up until a day before the sailing to cancel for a 100% cruise credit.
  • Disney Cruise Line’s website was also updated on March 4th with a warning about the inherent risk of exposure: “By sailing with Disney Cruise Line you voluntarily assume all risks related to exposure to COVID-19.”
  • The four parties suing Disney Cruise Line claim to have started to not feel well while on board the Disney Fantasy, with doctor visits for one party starting as early as March 16th.
  • The lawsuit also blames Disney for allowing buffet service to continue, a practice that was stopped before the end of the sailing on March 12th. Disney Cruise Line buffets require Guests to wash their hands prior to entering, with handwashing stations outside every door.
  • Other activities identified in the lawsuit as being harmful to the health of the four plaintiffs is the ability for Guests to participate in group activities such as theater-based entertainment and dancing in clubs.
  • The lawsuit also lists a timeline of the coronavirus affecting cruise ships, specifically calling out the date that the Carnival Diamond Princess began its quarantine in Japan, which was February 4th.
  • This was Disney Fantasy’s last sailing before the pandemic halted cruise line travel.
  • Disney Cruise Line has denied any wrongdoing, underlining that no guests or crew reported symptoms while on board the sailing.
  • Every Disney Cruise Line ship has a medical team on board and Guests are asked to notify them immediately if they are feeling sick as a best practice that’s been in place long before the pandemic started.

What They’re Saying:

  • Statement from Disney Cruise Line: “Our thoughts continue to be with those around the world who have been affected by COVID-19. We disagree with the allegations and will respond to them in court. No guests or Crew reported symptoms of Covid-19 while aboard the Disney Fantasy during the March 7, 2020, sailing. Disney Cruise Line communicated health and safety information with guests in advance of and during their sailing and had numerous protocols in place at the time.”