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Disney Cruise in a Jiffy: What is a Closed Loop Cruise?

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Welcome to a new series at Touring Plans, Disney Cruise in a Jiffy. An offshoot of our “Disney in a Minute” posts, In a Jiffy will be bite-sized nuggets of information that can better help you understand a Disney term or planning topic, but here we’ll be focused on all thing Disney Cruise Line (DCL). Enjoy!

A “Closed Loop” cruise is simply one that starts and ends at the same port. If the ship boards passengers at Port Canaveral, Florida, and then later disembarks those same passengers at Port Canaveral, then that’s a Closed Loop cruise.

The opposite of Closed Loop is Repositioning. A Repositioning Cruise is one that starts and ends at different ports. A classic Repositioning Cruise is an oceanic crossings, for example one that boards passengers at Southampton, England, and then disembarks those same passengers at Port Canaveral. Not all Repositioning Cruises include a dramatic distance. You might find a sailing that embarks guests at Port Canaveral and disembarks those guests at relatively nearby San Juan, Puerto Rico.

Most, but not all, DCL sailings that stop at Castaway Cay are closed loop cruises.

Why do you care if you’re on a Closed Loop or Repositioning Cruise? Two reason: transportation and documentation. The rules for required ID documents may vary depending on what type of sailing you’re on. And if you’re starting and stopping in different places, you’ll have to arrange your home-to-port transportation in a way that accounts for that variation.

Note that Closed Loop and Repositioning are terms that are also used by the cruise industry at large. They’ll help you understand terminology on whichever cruise line you choose to sail.

Have a question about a Disney Cruise Line term that is unfamiliar to you? Suggest it here for an upcoming Pier Review segment.

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Erin Foster

Erin Foster is an original member of the Walt Disney World Moms Panel (now PlanDisney), a regular contributor to TouringPlans.com, and co-author of The Unofficial Guide to Disney Cruise Line. She's been to WDW, DL, DL Paris, Hong Kong Disneyland, Aulani, DVC Vero Beach, and DVC Hilton Head. She's a Platinum DCL cruiser and veteran of 10 Adventures by Disney trips. Erin lives near New York City, where she can often be found indulging in her other obsession - Broadway theater.

2 thoughts on “Disney Cruise in a Jiffy: What is a Closed Loop Cruise?

  • The nature of cruising is that if you miss the ship, you’re not sailing. We ALWAYS recommend that if you’re flying to cruise embarkation port, you plan to arrive a day or two ahead of your sailing in case of things like flight delays. We also recommend that most cruisers purchase travel insurance. Look closely at the fine print of different policies to make sure that the one you choose covers what you need it to.

  • I’m interested in this but not sure about timing as we live up north. What if our plane is delayed and we miss port for the cruise. Can we get reimbursed. How does it work. Things typically go wrong for me. Lol


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