I recently had the amazing opportunity to sail with Disney Cruise Line on one of their first return voyages. It was absolutely Magical, which came as no surprise to me.
While the experience is basically the same great experience you would have had pre-COVID, there are a few changes worth noting.
First, Disney Cruise Line is requiring all guests over the age of 12 be fully vaccinated prior to sailing and take a COVID-19 test upon embarkation. Guests 11 years old and under are not required to be vaccinated but must take a pre-trip rapid PCR test or lab-based PCR test for COVID-19, as well as a rapid COVID-19 test upon embarkation.
Proof of vaccination must be uploaded to the Safe Passage website prior to sailing.
Once you have uploaded all of your information, you can choose a port arrival time. Port arrival times are being strictly enforced.
For this trip, we drove from our Orlando hotel to Port Canaveral. We were able to pull up and unload our luggage with a DCL porter and were directed to the garage. Once in, there were a series of steps to check in. Your QR check-in code is scanned and your information is reviewed. If a test needs to be administered, one can be done right in your vehicle and you will await the test results in your car before you can board.
Once you arrive at the terminal, you wait in line for check in, receive your boarding group number and then proceed through security. You then head up to the main waiting area and anxiously await your group to be called!
**Masks must be worn at the terminal and at all indoor locations on the ship.
The process is quick and simple. Having completed the health questionnaire and registration online really streamlines the entire process.
Once onboard, the Magic really begins! There is absolutely nothing like the greeting you receive when boarding a Disney ship. A crew member asks for your Family name and then announces you to the crew waiting to greet you with applause.
As part of the new safety protocols, guests are escorted to a dot and only a few parties are admitted at a time. Captain Mickey and Captain Minnie welcome everyone with a song and then you are free to explore the ship!
This particular sailing was Halloween on the High Seas. That means Halloween themed decor, characters in adorable Halloween costumes, and fun activities such as Mickey’s Mousequerade Party! Guests are encouraged to wear costumes for the party, as well. Our group dressed up as Dipper, Mabel and Wendy from “Gravity Falls.”
The ships are currently sailing at reduced capacity, which means character interaction is outstanding! There are no long lines and your favorite princesses can be spotted sitting on the floor chatting with their youngest fans for several minutes at a time. We never walked through the Atrium or sat by the pool without seeing and interacting with a variety of characters.
The entertainment was on point. We had a great time playing games, doing beverage seminars for adults, watching fireworks at Sea, taking in first run movies and so much more.
The Kids Clubs are up and running with some modifications. The clubs for kids under 12 do require reservations at this point. My son went to the teen club, Edge, and they didn’t have any restrictions.
Of course, you can’t talk about cruising without discussing food. When sailing with DCL, you are assigned a rotation of the three main dining rooms. On the Disney Dream and the Disney Fantasy, those dining rooms are Enchanted Garden, Royal Palace and Animator’s Palate. Your wait staff follows you to each dining experience.
In addition to your Main dining rooms, there is also a buffet, poolside options, and cafes. Crew members are currently serving you at the buffet as part of the new safety protocols.
The food is so delicious. I always miss it for at least a week when I return!
My favorite part of any Disney Cruise vacation is a stop at their private island, Castaway Cay. The island offers adults only areas, a delicious buffet, a wide variety of excursions and activities and a beautiful beach.
Overall, I thoroughly enjoyed my time back on the Disney Dream and can’t wait to get back to sailing as soon as possible.
I highly recommend taking advantage of the reduced capacity right now! Disney Cruise Line has last minute availability for Halloween on the High Seas or a Very Merrytime Cruise for 2021. Looking to sail in 2022? I can assist with that as well!