Disney has its two largest ships based at Port Canaveral — Dream and the Fantasy, both with a capacity of 4,000 passengers.

Port Canaveral will temporarily lose one of its major cruise lines, as Disney Cruise Line announced it would suspend sailings, effective Saturday, because of the coronavirus pandemic.


Disney has its two largest ships based at Port Canaveral — Dream and the Fantasy, both with a capacity of 4,000 passengers.


The suspension lasts until the end of the month and will affect eight scheduled sailings out of Port Canaveral.


The Dream was boarding passengers Friday at Port Canaveral's Cruise Terminal 8 for its final cruise before service will be halted.


Related: Coronavirus in Florida: Princess and Viking Cruises cancel all trips for next 60 days due to virus


It was one of four cruise ships preparing to sail out of Port Canaveral on Friday, along with the Carnival Liberty, the Norwegian Sun and the Royal Caribbean Mariner of the Seas.


Carnival, Norwegian and Royal Caribbean thus far have not announced plans to halt sailings of their cruise ships.


In addition, the Port Canaveral-based Victory I gambling ship is continuing its twice-a-day sailings from Brevard County's seaport.


The Disney Fantasy was due back at Port Canaveral on Saturday morning, but its next cruise, scheduled to leave Saturday afternoon, will not sail.


Disney said the suspension of sailings will last through March.


Disney Cruise Line said it was suspending service "in an abundance of caution and in the best interest of our guests and employees."


Related: Coronavirus: What it’s like aboard a cruise ship this week


"While we know this decision may be disappointing, the health and well-being of our guests is of the greatest importance," the cruise line said in its statement. "We are equally committed to the well-being of our incredible crew members who live and work aboard our ships and on Castaway Cay," Disney Cruise Line's private island in the Bahamas.


Disney said it would continue to pay its to crew members and shoreside employees during the suspended operations.


The Disney Dream will lose at least five sailings out of Port Canaveral: March 16 to 20, March 20 to 23, March 23 to 27, March 27 to 30 and March 30 to April 3.


The Disney Fantasy will lose at least three sailings out of Port Canaveral: March 14 to 21, March 21 to 29 and March 29 to April 4.


Port Canaveral is the world's second-busiest cruise port, in terms of passenger volume, behind PortMiami.


Dave Berman is government editor at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Berman at 321-242-3649 or dberman@floridatoday.com. Twitter: @bydaveberman


Rick Neale is the South Brevard Watchdog Reporter at FLORIDA TODAY. Contact Neale at 321-242-3638 or rneale@floridatoday.com. Twitter: @RickNeale1.


This story originally published to floridatoday.com, and was shared to other Florida newspapers in the USA TODAY Network - Florida.